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This crisis has escalated for years

While it was distressing to see two articles in two days about the mental health crisis among youth (“The kids are not OK,” Opinion, April 5; “Waits reportedly longer in ER for children’s mental health issues,” Business, April 6), I’m grateful the media continue to educate the public and sound the alarm bells.

Mental health (for all ages) has been an escalating crisis in the United States for years, with no substantial plan to address it. Mental health should be given the same priority as physical health; it shouldn’t be a line item on a list of questions asked at annual physicals or by a school nurse. At the very least, there should be yearly appointments for mental health checkups, as there are for other aspects of our health, such as dental care.

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A first step in managing this crisis is to establish partnerships between schools and community-based mental health agencies so that youth have easy access to therapeutic supports and at no cost. Long term, we need a more centralized system that triages cases to the appropriate levels of care and provides adequate funding for community-based crisis support alternatives over emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Integrating mental health care into our health care system as a priority will offer remarkable preventive and curative benefits that will elevate the quality of life for all.

David Cohen

CEO

Doc Wayne Youth Services

Boston

Doc Wayne is a Boston nonprofit that focuses on the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of at-risk youth with a combination of sport and therapy.


Consider kids’ stresses and heed their voices

Re “The kids are not OK” by Taylor Trudon: Younger generations’ concerns are often invalidated, and we are told to toughen up, or that the generations before us had it worse. But when we reflect on the differences in lifestyle between the older and younger generations, we may realize that this might not be true.

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The modern world is filled with new technology, and everything is posted to a screen for the world to judge and envy. On top of the negative effects social media have on children, desensitizing them or teaching them to hate who they are, the coronavirus pandemic only makes this worse. We spend our days on a screen, being taught what we “need” to know for a test that defines the outcome of the rest of our lives. We cannot see each other in person without risking all our safety, and yet we are still expected to work, exercise, learn, study, and more in isolation.

The truth is, the world is suffering together at this moment, but to ask young adults to merely sit back and stay silent while others get to advocate for what they want is ignorance.

Nolan Johnson

East Longmeadow

The writer is a student in the East Longmeadow Public Schools.