A pandemic-fueled surge in mental illness among children and teens, including some disorders driving youth violence and disruptions at school, has been the subject of several news headlines.
This October 2021 Washington Post article cited a string of assaults, including against school security officers, after schools reopened last fall to what educators and other experts say is an extraordinary level of mental distress among youth. (That same article cited National Association of School Resource Officers reports of 97 gun-related incidents in schools from August 1, 2020, to October 1, 2020; up from 29 such incidents during the same period in 2019.)
This June 2020 Voice of America article spotlighted a United Nations report about global spikes in online bullying, harassment and such during remote learning, and the anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders that those assaults triggered. (Conversely, this July 2021 paper, published by the Brown University Annenberg Institute for School Reform but not in a peer-reviewed journal, suggests that bullying and cyberbullying declined during COVID-19.)
The situation is so severe in the collective eyes of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association that those organizations, in October 2021, jointly declared the worsening state of youth mental health a national emergency. They especially noted, among other realities, that “more than 140,000 children in the United States lost a primary and/or secondary caregiver, with youth of color disproportionately impacted.”