According to CDC data released earlier this year, over a third of high school students reported suffering from poor mental health; meanwhile, forty-four percent reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless throughout 2021.
Medical professionals around the world already had worries regarding adolescent mental health prior to the pandemic due to social media and other environmental factors.
But, COVID-19 only exacerbated these concerns since increased stress and social isolation resulted in a dramatic uptick in feelings of anxiety and depression among children.
New Zealand has not been immune to the pandemic’s mental health effects on adolescents; instead, medical professionals are becoming increasingly unnerved regarding the level of accessible and responsive mental health care available in the nation.
According to new research published by the Universities of Auckland and Otago, the demand for mental health services has rapidly grown nationwide.
However, the New Zealand government’s latest funding increase for mental health has mainly focused on primary care– which Dr. Hiran Thabrew, one of the researchers, believes is a massive problem.
“That [the funding] is great, but it has been done at the expense of increasing specialist services to meet the increasing demand,” Dr. Thabrew said.
Examples of specialized services that have fallen to the wayside include but are not limited to psychiatry, psychology, and counseling.
Now, medical professionals who specifically offer mental health services are completely overwhelmed.
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