A new survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed an alarming rise in the number of teenagers who are struggling with their mental health.
During the first six months of 2021, 44% of the teenagers surveyed reported they felt persistently sad or hopeless. The CDC said that coronavirus lockdowns were one of the reasons why the number was so high.
The agency said that nearly 20% of teens contemplated suicide. Females were more than twice as likely as males to seriously consider suicide. Female students also reported higher rates of drinking and smoking.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the number of teens dealing with mental health issues has been climbing. In 2009, 26.1% of teenagers reported feeling sad and hopeless. That percentage rose to nearly 37% in 2019 before jumping another seven points amid the coronavirus pandemic as many teens found themselves isolated from their peers. Not only were they separated from their friends, but they also dealt with emotional abuse at home.
The CDC said that 55% of the respondents admitted they suffered emotional abuse, while 11% said they were physically abused.
"These data echo a cry for help," CDC acting Principal Deputy Director Debra Houry said in a press release. "The COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students' mental well-being. Our research shows that surrounding youth with the proper support can reverse these trends and help our youth now and in the future."