Teen shares ‘terrifying’ mental health issues with Congress | WJHL
A new suicide prevention hotline will be launched in July 2022
WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Claire Rhyneer has given congressional lawmakers a glimpse into what it’s like to be a teenager struggling with mental health issues.
“Every night,” the Alaskan teenager said, “I wondered what was wrong. And looking back, it’s terrifying to know that I was hurting myself physically and still didn’t know if I needed help.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said the pandemic has created a mental health emergency for children and teens.
“Previously, when we looked at suicide statistics, we looked at that age range of 25 to 45,” Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski said. “Now the alarm we’re seeing is for 10, 11, 12 year olds.”
The pandemic has upset the routines of young people. Dr Mitch Prinstein of the American Psychological Association said social isolation compounds the problem.
“They’re monitoring loved ones who are passing away or are so sick they need to go to the hospital,” Prinstein said. “Because of the time children spend on social media instead, which we now know has incredibly dangerous effects.”
Lawmakers have passed several recent laws to try to improve access to mental health services, such as the creation of a new suicide prevention hotline to be launched in July.
But experts say more resources.
Nevada Senator Jackie Rosen is working on a bill to allow the Substance Abuse Mental Service Administration to start helping schools.
Rosen said she is working to “authorize SAMHSA to provide targeted and timely resources directly to K-12 schools.”
Lawmakers said they were continuing to work to ensure mental health issues are taken seriously.