The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported finding never before seen levels of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts among high school students in the country.
Health experts said mental health issues were exacerbated during the pandemic. According to the Palm Springs Unified School District's (PSUSD) Mental Health Coordinator, Daniell McClain, youth mental health was already escalating as an issue, and the pandemic escalated it.
The CDC data was collected based on responses from over 17,000 high school students in the country.
It showed that over 40% of boys and girls reported feeling sad or hopeless in the past year so much they were unable to do regular activities like school work or sports for weeks at a time.
The data also showed high school girls were far more likely to report these feelings than boys.
30% of the high school girls also reported having seriously considered suicide.
PSUSD and Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) have mental health programs at their schools to help students. News Channel 3 did reach out to Coachella Valley Unified School District to inquire about its programs but received no response.
PSUSD said it offers services that vary from individual and family therapy on campus to telehealth therapy. The district reported since July 1, 2022, there have been:
- 122 middle school students and 92 high school students received medical therapy services.
- 93 students received telehealth services.
- 64 students participated in support groups run by peer specialists.
- 110 referrals to Care Solace for individual counseling (these are usually students with private insurance).
DSUSD said it provides mental health awareness and prevention support for all students. This includes mental health awareness, reducing stigma activities, classroom social-emotional learning lessons, parent resources, knowing the warning signs for targeted referrals, and much more.
Riverside County also offers mental health services.
If you believe your child is experiencing mental health issues you are urged to talk with them and understand them. Also, seek out help for your child from their school or doctor.