CDC studies prove teens are in crisis

Kids started remote learning over two years ago, and new CDC reports say their mental health has sharply declined, with many citing physical and emotional abuse at home.

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Rising depression and anxiety for teens worsened significantly in the past two  years.  (Nicole Xu for NPR)

Rising depression and anxiety for teens worsened significantly in the past two years. (Nicole Xu for NPR)

Recent CDC studies found the pandemic has significantly harmed adolescent mental health. In one survey, 4 in 10 teens reported feeling “persistently sad and hopeless” and in another, 55% reported suffering emotional abuse and 11% physical abuse at home. Even before COVID, mental health problems were rising among young people, with increasing rates of depression, suicidality, alienation, and anxiety.

This hour, we discuss the factors behind the teen mental health crisis and how to help youth cope and heal.


Dr. Kathleen Ethier, Director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (@ethierka) (@CDCgov)

Dr. Emily Becker-Haimes, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and Clinical Director of the Pediatric Anxiety Treatment Center at Hall Mercer (PATCH) program (@PennCMH)

Dr. Rhonda Boyd, psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (@RhondaBoydPhD) (@ChildrensPhila)

We Recommend

The New York Times: Many Teens Report Emotional and Physical Abuse by Parents During Lockdown “These data really confirm that we are in a severe crisis in terms of mental health among young people, particularly among female students and students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.”

NBC News: Teens faced emotional abuse at home during the pandemic, CDC finds “These data echo a cry for help…The COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students’ mental wellbeing.”

NPR: Two years ago schools shut down around the world. These are the biggest impacts “Schools provide food, safety, relationships, stability and hope for most children around the world…school closures tend to take place in the context of massive social upheaval. The pandemic was no exception.”


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