New data released by The Children’s Agenda has shed light on the need for better mental health services for young people in the Finger Lakes. The poll of 600 parents found that two out of five parents surveyed said at least one of their children has struggled with emotional or mental health since returning to school, but only one in four of those children received counseling. The survey also found that nearly 90% of the parents surveyed faced barriers when trying to access mental health services for their child, including long wait times for assistance.
“These findings show that we have a crisis of youth mental health needs in our community,” said The Children’s Agenda CEO Larry Marx. “We need both private and public stakeholders to come together and listen to parents [and those of us with lived experience.”
The Children’s Agenda is calling for a significant overhaul of public policy to help children cope with emotional and mental health issues. They are advocating for expanding youth emotional and mental health services through systemic changes supported by governmental and private investments, supporting a network of community members with the skills to identify when kids are struggling, support them, and connect them to services, and ensuring the community is one where children can thrive, including living and going to school in a safe environment.
“These are urgent issues,” said Taylor. “We cannot afford another day, another minute, another second to lose another life.” The organization plans to use the data to advocate for local and state-level changes in public policy to better support the mental health needs of young people.
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