The youth mental health crisis in America is often overlooked and unchecked. About 2 million youth in America have severe depression but about 60% of that group do not receive any kind of treatment. Coupled with the current pandemic, it can be difficult to reach youth in need.
Even during the pandemic, there are those who continue to try and help youth with their mental health problems.
“I don’t know if you have heard the term, meeting clients where they’re at… Meaning that we go to where they are as far as their needs or their location instead of expecting them to be at a certain place,” said Michelle Allee, a Licensed Clinical Social worker and Sacramento resident.
However this doesn’t always mean being there physically. Right now Allee and many other social workers are utilizing online services to the best of their ability.
“We have more opportunities now with technology changing. I think that more and more therapists are learning to utilize technology so that they can be more accessible to youth,” said Allee.
Unfortunately moving online presents a new set of problems. According to Allee, many of the youth she works with prefer and miss face-to-face interactions to online ones.
“They’re already pretty isolated and sometimes the environment in which they are living or they’re around isn’t necessarily supportive… I would say it’s more about preserving confidentiality and they wanna make sure that they’re in a safe space where they can, you know, be really authentic,” said Allee.
If they don’t have a safe space where they can talk to a professional, adopting a peer-mentor can help. Especially at a time where your close friends may be the only ones you are in contact with.
“Peer relationships are incredibly important… that’s a lot of where they are getting their support,” said Allee.
If you feel your mental health deteriorating during the course of this pandemic, help is readily available. Hopefully during and after the pandemic that 60% of youth will be empowered to seek out help.