White House Contributes to Mental Health

In an effort to address what has been widely described as a mental health crisis, the Biden administration is investing $35 million in suicide prevention, counseling, and other programs aimed at addressing depression, anxiety, and other disorders that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, according to research.

In a statement released ahead of the announcement, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra stated, “Mental health is vital to the overall health and well-being of our country’s children and young adults.” Becerra will travel around the country to promote the initiative, according to the department. He spoke on mental health in New Hampshire last week and was scheduled to fly to his home state of California on Wednesday to meet with lawmakers to promote the new project. He’ll also speak on homelessness, a developing epidemic on the West Coast with a substantial mental illness component, when he’s there.

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, “this is only the first wave of financing options.”

The $35 million will come from the coronavirus relief bill passed last year, as well as other cash given to federal agencies. A suicide prevention program on college campuses, school-based therapy, family counseling, and assistance for children experiencing psychosis are among the seven funded initiatives in the new effort.

The HHS official stated, “We want to reach kids where they are.”

The status of mental health in America, for both children and adults, had long been a source of worry — but two years of social isolation, death, and other disturbances had resulted in a collective decline in emotional well-being. Officials from the Department of Public Health are aiming to solve the problem as soon as possible now that COVID-19 worries appear to be dissipating.

“I’ve lost sleep after having these talks with parents and mental health experts,” said Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a Democrat from the Boston area who first became aware of the situation in 2021 while pushing for his district’s schools to reopen.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released an advice late last year, drawing attention to the problem and committing to seek to provide “high-quality, accessible, and culturally competent mental health treatment” to every American kid.

According to an accompanying research, “depressive and anxiety symptoms increased during the pandemic,” with 25 percent and 20 percent of respondents exhibiting signs of those diseases, respectively, in a worldwide survey of 80,000 youngsters. Murthy’s analysis also revealed a 51 percent increase in adolescent American females’ alleged suicide attempts.

President Biden addressed the situation in his State of the Union speech last week, promising to “take on mental health.” Especially among our youngsters, who have had their lives and education turned upside down.”

In the long term, the objective of effective, widely available juvenile mental health across the country will almost certainly cost billions of dollars. Both rural America and neglected metropolitan neighborhoods where medical care has been limited — and, in many cases, dwindling — mental health treatment might be absent. Lockdowns and remote learning sever social and emotional ties; a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March of last year found that children in remote and hybrid learning arrangements were more likely to experience mental health distress than children in traditional classrooms.

Auchincloss told Yahoo News that American youngsters are “swimming in sources of anxiety.” “This epidemic must be used as a rallying cry.” He and others believe that bringing the problem more attention would help to erase some of the stigma associated with emotional discomfort and put light on the shortcomings of a mental health system that is simply unprepared to handle the current crisis.

Long lines for hospital beds have been recorded by doctors, as have “logjams” for web-based therapy. In some school districts, children are being given “mental health days” to help them cope with the stress of the epidemic.

A recent Boston Globe headline summed up the situation succinctly: “We need an Operation Warp Speed for kids’ mental health,” it said, referring to the Trump administration’s successful development of the coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with private business. The total price tag was $12 billion.

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