“Caring for our kids’ mental health has become more urgent than ever before. If not addressed properly, will lead to mental health struggles as adults,” Emmer said.
“Between the long-term effects from COVID lockdowns, like isolation and developmental delays, and the creeping threat of social media platforms like TikTok, it is especially important to bring our community together to discuss solutions to this crisis,” Emmer concluded.
Young people have been especially vulnerable to mental health concerns. A survey published in February by the CDC shows that in 2021, 30 percent of teenage girls reported seriously considered suicide. Additionally, they found that 42 percent of high school students reported experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness over the past year, a fifty percent increase from 2011. Earlier this year, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called young people’s mental health challenges the “crisis of our time.”
Emmer has been a longtime advocate for youth mental health. Last year, he sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona asking for more information on the coordination, funding and implementation of mental health programs in schools. Emmer also co-sponsored the Parents Bill of Rights Act, legislation designed to create transparency in the classroom and give parents a voice in their children’s education. The Parents Bill of Rights Act passed the House of Representatives with Emmer’s support in March.
The roundtable was attended by representatives from Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Health Partners, Centracare, Nexus Family Health and Sophie’s Squad.