Pandemic accelerated youth mental health crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated a decline in youth mental health in the U.S. Several experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health commented about the crisis in a July-August, 2022, Harvard Magazine article.

COVID’s effect on children’s mental health depends on a range of factors including age, family circumstances, pre-existing conditions, and innate susceptibility, said Jack Shonkoff, Julius B. Richmond FAMRI professor of child health and development and director of the Center for the Developing Child. While more children are experiencing serious mental health problems, many are resilient and will come through the pandemic okay, he said.

Christy Denckla, assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences, noted that behavior that may seem negative may actually be a helpful short-term coping mechanism. “Sometimes acting out is a way of expressing an emotion or grappling with a stressor,” she said.

Already inadequately staffed and…
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