Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


It's Not Only COVID-19: Californians Have Been Facing A 'Mental Health Pandemic'

A man and woman strain to touch each other but are separated by an amorphous, see-through barrier in this illustration.
(Alborz Kamalizad
Before you read this story...
Dear reader, we're asking for your help to keep local reporting available for all. Your financial support keeps stories like this one free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.


A statewide survey of some 30,000 Californians reveals an uptick in the number of people reporting serious mental health struggles over pre-pandemic years.

What stands out:

UCLA’s California Health Interview Survey highlights an “urgent need for mental health services,” according to a press release from UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research. The survey was conducted in 2021.

Support for LAist comes from

About 30% of adults age 18 to 24 experienced “serious suicide ideation” in 2021, up from about 24% in 2019.

“As has been observed in other studies, the impact of the pandemic is especially pronounced for young adults,” CHIS Director Todd Hughes said Wednesday.

The study also found: 36% of respondents age 13 to 17 said they "needed help for emotional or mental health problems," but 26% "did not receive any counseling in the past year.”

Need Help? Here Are Some Resources

The backstory:

Mental health experts warned of a COVID-19 “mental health pandemic,” as millions deal with the fallout from physical isolation, loss of a loved one and the myriad other disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Late last year, the U.S.’s top doctor put out an advisory warning of a mental health crisis among the nation’s youth — a crisis he said was made worse by the pandemic.

This comes as many Angelenos still struggle to get mental health services like therapy.

What's next:

For one, state leaders are trying to direct more funds to California’s mental health care system. In August, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a nearly $5-billion plan to increase accessibility to mental health services for young Californians.

Support for LAist comes from

Go deeper: Why We're Facing A Coronavirus 'Mental Health Pandemic'