First Focus submitted this statement for the record regarding the February 15, 2022 hearing on “Protecting Youth Mental Health” held by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

Excerpt from the letter:

Our country is facing a youth mental health crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only sharpened the lens on an existing issue. Even before the pandemic, 13-20% of children under the age of 18 experienced a mental disorder, and the suicide rate among youth aged 10 to 24 has increased nearly 60% since 2007. The issue has only worsened due to the pandemic. In the first 6 months of 2021, children’s hospitals reported a 45% increase in the number of cases of self-injury and suicide in children ages 5 to 17 compared to the first 6 months of 2019. While children from all backgrounds have been impacted by mental health challenges during the pandemic, children of racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately impacted.

Read the full letter.