According to a 2019 survey from the Centers for Disease Control, approximately one in five youths reported they’d seriously considered attempting suicide within the last year, while one in six had actually made a suicide plan, and one in 11 had made an attempt. Since the pandemic began, things have only gotten worse. In 2020 Mental Health America reported an uptick in severe major depression and suicidal ideation among youth. It noted in September 2020 that more than half of 11- to 17-year-olds reported they had experienced frequent thoughts of suicide or self-harm in the last two weeks. Other statistics are equally alarming.
Simply put, this pandemic has pushed stress levels of many youth to the breaking point. There are many contributing factors, such as isolation from peers, concern about loved ones getting sick, family financial issues such as job losses, and stress from navigating distance learning.
Then there are the situations in which child abuse and exploitation occur. During the early months of the pandemic, for example, child abuse complaints dropped, sometimes by as much as 50 percent. That’s not because abuse and exploitation issues were down. Just the opposite–the abuse was unreported because it wasn’t being seen by those who would typically catch it.