LA County Wants To Hear Directly From Youth About Their Mental Health Concerns
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors wants to hear from young people about their biggest mental health stressors.
The supervisors unanimously approved a motion Tuesday that calls for the convening of a special youth mental health panel.
The measure points to a recent advisory issued by the U.S. Surgeon General that warns of a mental health crisis among kids. The report from America’s top doctor says depressive and anxiety symptoms among youth doubled during the pandemic.
“It’s very clear that the pandemic has had devastating impacts on the mental health of young people,” said Alain Datcher, executive director of the L.A. County Youth Commission, which will lead the discussion. “I’m hoping that we can say, ‘Here are the most pressing concerns to young people’s mental health that the county can make a move on today,’” he said.
The youth panel comes at a time when the state Department of Education is looking at how to quickly get an additional 10,000 mental health professionals on school campuses.
County Youth Commissioner La'Toya Cooper said addressing mental health issues is “personal” for her and has been a top driver for the commission since its inception.
“We’ve personally lived this experience. We’ve personally have had bad therapists and bad psychiatrists,” Cooper said. “It’s a lot going on that we don’t know, so we need to get out here and figure out what’s the real issue and how we can fix it.”
Organizers plan to hold the virtual panel discussion on Feb. 10.
Datcher and his team will then have about a month to report back to the supervisors with the group’s recommendations.
For more help:
Find 5 Action Steps for helping someone who may be suicidal, from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Six questions to ask to help assess the severity of someone's suicide risk, from the Columbia Lighthouse Project.
To prevent a future crisis, here's how to help someone make a safety plan
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s 24/7 Help Line (Spanish available): 800-854-7771
East Los Angeles Women’s Center 24/7 crisis hotline (Spanish available): 800-585-6231
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for 24/7 crisis counseling