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CDC and Arkansas health experts report an increase in the number of young people experiencing mental health issues



Little Rock, Arkansas – The Centers for Disease Control released fresh statistics on Monday that indicated high school pupils are having mental health issues. The data, which shows a 10-year trend from 2011 to 2021, reveals that a certain proportion of young people are becoming more distressed and need help.

Dr. Buster Lackey, Executive Director of the National Alliance of Mental Illness Arkansas, said the statistic did not surprise him because according to his group, one in six children in Arkansas between the ages of 6 and 17 have a mental health issue.

In recent months, more and more young people have needed therapy, according to Lackey.

“We get over 300 phone calls a month on our helpline,” Lackey said.

No matter their sex, race, or ethnicity, students continued to encounter a rising percentage of students who felt persistently depressed and hopeless over the course of the ten-year period, according to the CDC.

Also, Lackey asserts that an increasing proportion of students require assistance in managing their mental health.

“65 percent of students in Arkansas aged 12 to 17 have depression and a large proportion of those did not get any help for it at all,” Lackey said.

Several of his coworkers, he said, claim to be giving advice to children who are even younger than he is.

“They’re reporting even as young as 3 to 4 years old are starting to do counseling for mental health issues,” Lackey said.

Christy English, an elementary school counselor, added that she is seeing younger children who require her assistance due to mental health problems. English mentioned that one of the things she and her children are focusing on is how to handle challenging situations.

“Kids are definitely going to learn more coping skills,” English said.

According to Lackey, parents’ efforts to openly listen to and assist their children’s problems at home are the first step in assisting a child with their mental health.

“It is just a good thing for parents to start talking early that it is okay not to be okay but we want to get your help for it,” Lackey said.

He advised parents to be alert for significant behavioral changes in their children.

Resources like the National Alliance on Mental Illness Arkansas helpline at 800-844-0381 or the 24-hour national suicide prevention lifeline at 988 are available to individuals in need.