FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On August 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released staggering new data showing the COVID-19 pandemic is creating devastating collateral damage to our nation’s mental health, particularly for young people. Among people ages 18-24, one in four (25.5%) “seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days,” according to the survey. Furthermore, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use in the prior 30 days, according to the CDC data. The poll was conducted between June 24-30, 2020 as COVID-19 infection rates continued to spike around the country.
National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia issued the following statement in response to the new data.
“Alarm bells should be ringing in every corner of the nation when we learn that one in four young people have seriously considered suicide in the last month. That translates into 82.5 million young men and women across the country, in every state and every community, contemplating ending their lives.
“This new data provides all the proof we need that the pandemic is much more than just a tragic medical emergency. It also underscores the urgent need to fund behavioral health care so people have access to the treatment and services that allow them cope with the anxiety created by economic uncertainty, social isolation and other extraordinary circumstance caused by the pandemic.
“But our nation is unprepared to meet the needs of those in crisis because we have underfunded mental health services for decades. Today, our nation’s behavioral health organizations are struggling to keep their doors open. Efforts to combat the pandemic cannot succeed without also addressing the widespread, collateral damage to the nation’s mental health.
“As Congress and the White House continue to debate the shape of future policies to address COVID, I implore them to recognize the need to invest in the nation’s behavioral health system. If we continue to starve behavioral health care in America, we will experience a wave of mental illness, and we are unprepared to handle a second pandemic.”
About the National Council for Behavioral Health
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and substance use services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 2 million Americans have been trained.