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Mental health crisis looms large among U.S. teens: report

A student is seen on the steps of the closed public school PS 139 in the Ditmas Park neighborhood in Brooklyn of New York, the United States, Oct. 8, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

The decline in mental health among teenagers was intensified by the COVID pandemic but predated it, spanning racial and ethnic groups, urban and rural areas and the socioeconomic divide.

NEW YORK, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Mental health disorders like depression, self-harm and suicide are rising among American adolescents, replacing their public health threats three decades ago like binge drinking, drunken driving, teenage pregnancy and smoking, The New York Times has reported.

In 2019, 13 percent of adolescents reported having a major depressive episode, a 60 percent increase from 2007. Emergency room visits by children and adolescents in that period also rose sharply for anxiety, mood disorders and self-harm, the newspaper reported on Saturday.

For people aged 10 to 24, suicide rates, stable from 2000 to 2007, leaped nearly 60 percent by 2018, the report cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying.

"The decline in mental health among teenagers was intensified by the COVID pandemic but predated it, spanning racial and ethnic groups, urban and rural areas and the socioeconomic divide," said the report.

Top health officials have warned of a "devastating" mental health crisis among adolescents, while numerous hospital and doctor groups have called it a national emergency, citing rising levels of mental illness, a severe shortage of therapists and treatment options, and insufficient research to explain the trend, it added. ■