Children have undoubtedly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, says actress Goldie Hawn.
Hawn, 76, said in an op-ed published in USA Today Wednesday that we’ve “failed” children, citing the spike in suicide attempts among adolescents.
“Today, we are in the midst of a national trauma that could very well surpass 9/11 and approach the heightened terror of the Cold War years,” Hawn wrote. “The COVID era has changed our children’s lives in far more real, tangible ways – social distancing, school closures, daily mask use.
“Kids are afraid of people, spaces, even the air around them – a level of constant fear not seen in decades,” the actress emphasized. “In early 2021, emergency room visits in the United States for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher for adolescent girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys, compared with the same time period in early 2019.
“This tells us that as a nation, we have failed our children.”
The Private Benjamin star cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to say that children’s mental health has now reached the level of a national emergency.
“This tells us that as a nation, we have failed our children,” Hawn wrote. “The few federal and state dollars that get directed to youth “mental health” invariably end up being earmarked for addiction and “crisis care,” addressing only the most severe disorders. There are modest funds once a kid ends up in a hospital. But what about before?”
Hawn continued, saying society hasn’t prioritized teaching everyday tools for mental fitness in children. She does, however, remain hopeful that this generation of children can still thrive in the future.
“We will survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but I’m not sure we can survive an entire generation whose collective trauma sends them hobbling into adulthood,” Hawn wrote. “We need more research, more preventative care and more early intervention. And there’s still time. If we get it right, today’s kids could emerge as the strongest generation America has ever produced.”
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