The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will hold a town hall Thursday evening on the mental health crisis among children and teens. The discussion will bring together NCDHHS officials and state lawmakers to get input from the public and talk about possible solutions.
The most recent data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on American mental health in general – but for youth, there has been a particularly steep decline.
- In 2021, more than 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently sad or hopeless and nearly one-third (29%) experienced poor mental health.
- In 2021, more than 1 in 5 (22%) students seriously considered attempting suicide and 1 in 10 (10%) attempted suicide.
Negative outcomes among LGBTQ youth are particularly pronounced, according to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data & Trends Report.
“As in previous reports, we continue to see disparities among students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, or another non-heterosexual identity (LGBQ+) or who have had any same-sex sexual partners compared to their peers,” the report reads. ”
Nearly 70% of LGBTQ students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness during the past year , according to the report. More than 50% had poor mental health during the past 30 days and almost 25% attempted suicide during the past year.
Dr. Charlene Wong, NCDHHS assistant secretary for children and families, will moderate Thursday’s town hall, which will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Forsyth County Commissioner Chambers at 201 North Chestnut St. in Winston–Salem.
NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley will be joined in the discussion by N.C. Sen Joyce Krawiec (R-District 31), N.C. Sen. Jim Burgin (R-District 12) and N.C. Sen. Paul Lowe (D-District 32).
A livestream of the town hall will be available on the NCDHHS YouTube Channel for those unable to attend in person.