What is causing this crisis?

Olive the cat keeps me calm.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday while driving to and from the post office with my Frango client gifts. I didn’t hear all of it, but what I did hear was disturbing. Our youth are in a mental health crisis. One in five contemplate suicide. Suicide is skyrocketing. Mental health has reached a crisis level and there is a shortage of mental health care professionals.

The podcast was quoting from a recent Washington Post article. (I’m not a subscriber so I looked for other free resources online.)

New research shows the number of teens with suicidal thoughts were already rapidly growing before the pandemic’s mental health impact.

The number of 5 to 19-year-olds who were hospitalized with suicidal thoughts jumped almost 60% between fall 2019 to fall 2020. 

“We need to really start thinking about the root of it all and looking at how we can prevent and intervene a lot sooner for our youth,” said Dr. Brewer.


When I was growing up, I didn’t hear much about mental health or suicidal thoughts in youth. I’m sure it was happening, but not talked about. But I’m also sure it wasn’t at crisis proportions that it is today.

What do you believe the cause is? What has changed from decades ago to today that affects mental health? Was it isolation due to COVID? Is it isolation due to smart phones? Is it bullying online? What other causes? Please discuss.

32 thoughts on “What is causing this crisis?

  1. The way I see it, we’re being sold a sack of lies and the young people (especially) are buying in. Objective truth is out the window. Wrong looks right and right looks wrong. All that sparkles is not gold, it’s emptiness. Life is the opposite of precious, it’s disposable. This is in direct opposition to God and He is where we find purpose, peace, and perfect love. When people find they’ve been duped, and they carry the consequences of poor decisions they’ve made in deception, and they don’t believe they can change course, or that life is worth the effort, suicide seems reasonable. And authority figures are back peddling so as not to offend. We don’t wanna tell them it’s all a crock of lies for fear of backlash. They need heroes and they’re getting zeroes. That is the way I see it.

    • That is so well thought out and said. Kids are being taught things against their parents’ beliefs and that how they were raised is wrong or false. They are losing their grounding and identities.

      • And they are taught that anyone who believes differently is an enemy, driven by hate. How can you believe that about those who would be your support system – your parents and grandparents – and be ok? It robs young people of their most important relationships.

  2. Turn on the news it’s all about violence, almost ALL shows on TV/Netflix/Prime, etc are violent, video games are violent — that’s why these kids have suicidal thoughts. THEN you have the reality shows that make a child feel that unless they look perfect, no one will want or love them. There is nothing calm about growing up today. They have no freedom to just be kids, get away from their phones, computers, and just be in nature, riding their bike, reading a book, dreaming. THE NEWS never shares anything positive. I don’t even watch it anymore. I mainly check to make sure there wasn’t a major catastrophe. Sad.

    • I hadn’t thought of news in this but you’re correct. It’s all negative and violent. They are surrounded with it. Plus social media never lets them have a break from bullying or feeling left out. Social media reinforces the need to look perfect. Thanks for your comment.

  3. It’s a combo. Social media is a big part, isolation was a big part, and unrealistic expectations round out the list. Also parents not parenting but trying to be friends. But it’s no one thing

  4. Having a discussion with my daughter who is an RN and also pretty well versed in mental health issues just yesterday. She was a teen in the 90’s. I think she feels that mental health issues were just as prevalent then as they are now but kids found a way of masking those issues on a daily basis- both to fit in with their peers but also as a way to be compliant with family and society in general. I think LA hits on a variety of triggers that have occurred more commonly since the time daughter was in the midst of this so I agree with her, it’s not a one answer fits all. Her post today reflects the huge mental health crisis society faces across the spectrum and our inability as a functional society to manage or ameliorate the problems. That is tied up directly in bureaucracy, funding, and a willingness to step away from outdated socially normative models of care and support.

    • That’s it in a nutshell. I think the lack of in person social interaction and focus on phones is a big part of it. A year ago one of my daughter’s college friends committed suicide. He was the guy everybody loved. Tall, good looking, polite, funny, great athlete. Nobody had a clue. In his note he said he didn’t feel connected to people anymore.

  5. My daughter (she is 32) is a peds ER nurse. She has mentioned dealing with pysch patients are out of control. They can’t care for them, there is no care available for them. As I see it, TV is violent, video games are violent, social media is violent, and depressing. Parents are busy doing their own thing, not parenting. Kids have no idea how to interact with others. This is a solietal problem.

  6. Yes, I’m well aware. We have a grandchild who has quite a lot of mental health issues, suicidal thoughts included. What’s frustrating is most mental health counselors don’t accept insurance and this expense is not doable for many parents. We are fortunate that her therapist does take insurance. It’s a social phenomenon that I’ve seen increase with my college senior students since 2016. Our social and political culture isn’t helping either. It’s scary.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your grandchild’s suffering. I think expense, insurance and access is a huge problem to getting good care. It’s a topic that needs to be addressed with new ideas.

  7. I’d say it’s a combination of isolation, social media, expectations, negligent parents, and slowly degrading social skills because we spend so much time on our phones. All of us. Hugs, C

  8. It is indeed such a huge problem and so sad! I think there are many factors that play into it, one surely being social media. One person can put up a mean comment about someone and within seconds hundreds of people can see it and make more nasty comments! Horrible!
    But thats not the root of the problem. I think a lot has to do with self worth! We have kids who are sooo negative about themselves already, even without peers looking down on them! And with much anxiety! We adults have unfortunately fed into the anxiety. I think we have burdened our kids with too much pressure!! We have forgot how to let them be JUST KIDS!! We been afraid to let them be bored by over.scheduling them with activities from little on up! And if little Will is too hyper we been quick to medicate and if little Jane isn’t reading as good as Sarah, well Oh No something must be wrong! We simply have forgotten to let kids have a cbildhood, and by the time they reach tbeir teens they are Stressed out!!

    • I completely agree. I was guilty of over scheduling and being worried something was wrong when my daughter struggled with reading. Our kids didn’t have time to be bored except in the summertime at the beach.

      • There are things I am guilty of as a parent too! I sooo don’t want to give the impression that I am blaming parents for everything! I think its society as a whole. We have also become lost in technology and forgotten how to communicate. My son says he sees that as the biggest problem with young people today. He just turned 21. He says people don’t know how to talk to each other to hold serious, deep conversations for all they know is texting.
        My friend and I discussed how when we were young we hung out at the skating rink, the bowling alley, mall, stc. We got together, that was the point. Today’s kids, stay in their room and text their friends instead. The social interaction is sooo missing. A blogger friend who is a college professor did an experiment with his class once.. He told them he was giving them 15 minutes of free time to interact. Everybody got out their phones. The room was quiet! I think that makes a powerful point.

      • I remember when my kids were young (they’re 26 and 29 now) at swim meets the kids would play cards and word games for hours. Then when my youngest was in high school they were on their phones. Nobody talked!

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