In October 2019, the Center for Disease Control(CDC) reported that from 2000-2007, suicide rates for American youth ages 10-14 years old were on the decline.
However, the decade that followed painted a very different picture. Between 2007-2017, not only did these rates increase, they tripled. And...recent research shows that the rate at which this rate is increasing...is increasing.
As if that weren’t troubling enough, the National Alliance for Mental Illness(NAMI) reports the following:
1 in 5 kids ages 13-18 have or will have a diagnosable mental illness, yet half of all lifetime cases of mental Illnesses remain undiagnosed.
50% of people with mental illness begin showing symptoms before the age of 14
The average delay of treatment from the onset of symptoms is a decade.
The 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24 is suicide.
90% of those youths aged 10-24 who died by suicide showed signs of diagnosable mental illness, according to post mortem interviews of friends and families.
There is so much more, but let’s pause here.
Imagine a child who begins to show symptoms when they are nine, but is not treated until they are twenty years old. What does that imply about their formative experiences as an adolescent? And how does all of this affect faith formation? Their entire experience as an adolescence is compromised, to say the least. This was true before the global pandemic of COVID-19. The generational trauma our adolescents are now forced to navigate only amplifies this reality.
The church in general does not have a strong history when it comes to talking about mental health.