In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory to address the national youth mental health crisis. 

Many of our youth lived with or experienced mental health challenges before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States, 1 in 5 children and youth had a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged their social, emotional, and mental well-being and brought mental health to the forefront of conversations.

The COVID-19 pandemic added to the challenges young people already faced. It disrupted their routines and the way they interacted with family and friends.

It is time for us, as a community, to move beyond just having an awareness of children and youth’s mental health. We need to accept that many of our young people are struggling right now and need our understanding and support.

Individuals in need of crisis or mental health support services can call Hawai‘i CARES for free 24/7 support at 1-800-753-6879 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting ALOHA to 741741. For more information about children’s mental health services, visit https://health.hawaii.gov/camhd/.