Highlights TEAM UP’s Solution to the Mental Health Crisis in Children

(CNN)- The pandemic has been tough, but the return to in-person schooling has also been emotionally difficult for Mary Norris’ 12-year-old daughter.

Norris says her daughter was bullied relentlessly at the school she attended last year in Fresno, California, near where her father lives. So she transferred to a school in Madera, where her mother lives. This year is going better, but Norris says her daughter is still struggling emotionally.

She recently got a call from a school staff member who said her daughter had written something disturbing in her journal.

“She wrote in her book that she wishes that she were dead, and she wanted to kill herself. And my daughter’s always a very happy, really smiley kid,” Norris said.

Norris is one of more than 2,000 adults surveyed this summer by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation about mental health issues in America. The nationally representative sample included more than 500 parents.

Nearly half of those parents, 47%, say the pandemic has negatively affected their kids’ mental health, with 17% saying it had a major negative impact.

More than 8 out of 10 parents said they’re at least somewhat worried about depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use negatively affecting the life of US teens, while roughly three-quarters said they were worried about self-harm or pandemic-related loneliness and isolation.

More than 4 in 10 said they were very worried about alcohol and drug use, anxiety and depression affecting teens. Lower-income parents – those making less than $40,000 a year – were more likely than those in higher-income households to say they’re very worried about self-harm, eating disorders, depression and alcohol and drug use.

According to the survey, more than half of Americans (55%) think most children and teenagers in the US aren’t able to get the mental health services they need.

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