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The Children’s Mental Health Crisis Didn’t Start With The Pandemic

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The United States is experiencing an adolescent mental health crisis. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Surgeon General are stressing the urgent need to address the mental health needs of children and teens.

The pandemic focused attention on this issue as young people dealt with isolation, the uncertainty of lockdown and grief over the death of loved ones. But while the pandemic exacerbated the problem, it has been building for years.

We speak with Judith Warner, a journalist and author, to find out how we got to this point, and what can be done to help kids now. Warner’s most recent piece, “We Have Essentially Turned a Blind Eye to Our Own Children for Decades,” appears in The Washington Post Magazine.

This episode deals with suicide. If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment to help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

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