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CDC Report: Urgent Need to Address Teens’ Adverse Experiences During Pandemic

Updated: Dec 7, 2022


jama_kuehn_2022_wr_220046_1668792275.83575 (1)
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Three-quarters of US adolescents reported at least one adverse experience, such as abuse, neglect, witnessing violence, or having a family member attempt or die by suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a CDC report. Youths reporting multiple adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, were substantially more likely to report poor current mental health or a past-year suicide attempt than those without these experiences.

Poor adolescent mental health was a growing concern before the pandemic, according to the report authors, but it has since escalated into a crisis. The team analyzed survey data collected from 4390 high school students between January and June 2021. Most of the students reported at least 1, about half reported 1 to 2, 12% reported 3, and about 8% reported four or more ACEs during the pandemic or the past 12 months.

The effects of these experiences were cumulative, with youth who reported the most ACEs being the most likely to report poor mental health. Those who had four or more adverse experiences were four times more likely to report poor current mental health and 25 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than those without such negative experiences.

Certain types of adverse experiences were particularly harmful to mental health. Emotional abuse was associated with about twice the risk of poor mental health and about 3.5 times the risk of a suicide attempt. About one-third of adolescents who reported a sexual assault also reported attempting suicide.

What are ACEs: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur before a child reaches the age of 18. Such experiences can interfere with a person’s health, opportunities and stability throughout their lifetime—and can even affect future generations. Some policymakers are interested in preventing adverse experiences, mitigating their effects, and reducing the associated costs to state health care, education, child welfare, and correctional systems. This webpage presents research and resources, as well as state strategies to prevent and reduce ACEs' occurrence and negative consequences.

Moreover, ACEs can follow an intergenerational pattern. For example, research suggests that children who experience physical abuse may be more likely to commit violence, including abusing or neglecting their own children, and to be revictimized in the future. ACEs align with a shifting public health focus to upstream thinking and preventing negative behaviors and outcomes before they occur.

Since the original study, the list of ACEs in various measures has expanded, intending to capture diverse population data, particularly from children of color and those living in poverty. For instance, since 2011, ACEs questions on the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) have incorporated familial death, neighborhood violence, economic hardship, and unfair treatment based on race or ethnicity.

Adverse childhood experiences do not stop at mental health, addiction, and behavior. It also impacts physical health and social outcomes. See the attached diagram. We all know that stress negatively affects our physical health; it exacerbates chronic conditions and disease.

Social stressors, poverty, crime, seeing family members engage or be a victim of violence or use drugs, having abuse in the home, and poverty all contribute to ACEs and influence future behavior, habits, unemployment, and failure to thrive.


Another option is to use the search engine You c n fl er by insurance, zip code, type of treatment (CBT, psychoanalytical, etc.), issues (ADHD, grief, OCD, depression, anxiety, BPD, eating disorders, sexual abuse m marriage, addiction, transgender, etc.), insurance (uninsured, sliding scale, insurance companies) age, gender, price, sexuality, ethnicity, and faith.

This is a great resource, if there were actually resources available versus waitlists, no insurance accepted or telehealth only

Do I sound snarky? Yes. But this is a severe problem. Please don't take my word for it. Try it. Imagine you or one of your loved ones is in a mental health or addiction crisis, and you need help. Time is NOT on your side. "I'll put you on a waiting list is NOT an option. "

How long are we going to do this and facilitate or ignore #suiciderisks and enable children and our youth to remain in unhealthy and safe environments because it's easier?

Telehealth has its place but NOT in crisis or first visit. There is too much lost. Too much missed. Patients are forced to g0 to #emergencyrooms where it's very common that they do NOT have mental health practitioners available.

The common scenario is if they deem you not at risk to yourself or others, you get a prescription and go home with directions to follow up. How many patients do you think follow up?

Real talk: #telehealth allows practitioners to see more patients in less time, reduce office expense overhead, and make more #profit.

#Telehealth is only effective for long-term maintenance, stable, med check, and patient updates. Can it be the preferred method for the patient long term? Yes. Can it be effective, particularly when transportation is an issue? Absolutely. Can it help free up access to those in desperate need of in-person therapy? Yes.

But, it is broken. Access, availability, technological ease of access, tech abilities, poverty, lack of insurance, and the probability of making an incorrect assessment and diagnosis over the phone or PC all place the patient at greater risk.

1 opmerking

30 nov. 2022

I would like to say that income issues should also be under household challenges, as well. I thought it would be. Lots of people think therapy is too expensive, why they don't go. Their is even a running joke about it. With that said, yes, their needs to be something done about the broken healthcare system. It's almost like the in person therapists, etc, have been kicked out and the telehealth people are their replacement. Just told to sit up straight, look at the camera, and smile. Hell, any tv person can do that. We need real people, for real problems. Not sub par for actual emergencies. That's where/how things fall apart.....

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