Need Help Now? Call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or Text BIG to 741741
"Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real and widespread. Even before the pandemic, an alarming number of young people struggled with feelings of helplessness, depression, and thoughts of suicide — and rates have increased over the past decade. The COVID-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school, and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating. The future wellbeing of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation."
-- U.S. Surgeon General
Big Brothers Big Sisters Is Addressing The Crisis
91% of Littles feel a strong sense of belonging among peers and Littles reported strong feelings of being listened to when bringing worries or problems to their Bigs
77% of Littles said they are doing better in school because of their Big
90% of Littles agreed their Big made them feel better about themselves
94% of Littles have confidence they will achieve their goals
The Surgeon General’s Advisory
In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. The Advisory describes the COVID 19 Pandemic’s unprecedented impact on the mental health of America’s young people, as well as the mental health challenges that existed long before the pandemic. The Advisory provides recommendations for individuals, families and community organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters to improve the mental health of children, youth and young adults. Read the full report.
Up to 1 in 5 children ages 3 to 17 in the U.S. having a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder
From 2009 to 2019, the share of high school students who reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40%, to more than 1 in 3 students
Suicidal behaviors among high school students also increased during the decade preceding COVID
The CDC Report
In a report released in March, 2023, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released its report providing research from its Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2011-2021). Read the full report.
57% of teen girls in 2021 reported feeling "persistently sad or hopeless" over the past year, up form 36% in 2011 and the highest rate seen in the last decade
29% of teen boys reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, compared to 21% in 2011
LGBTQ+ students and students with same-sex partners also reported high levels of sadness and hopelessness in 2021, at 69% and 78% respectively
Roughly 30% of teen girls said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, up from 19% in 2011
Introducing Team: Changing Minds
Team: Changing Minds is a national network of mental health responders dedicated to helping young people, and especially young men, connect to support. We activate the trusted peers and adults in young people’s lives, who are active in pastimes they love (like video games, mentoring, and sports) – ensuring help is just a click, call, or connection away.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is working with Futures Without Violence and National Council for Mental Wellbeing to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis.
If you are a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) already, contact your local agency to learn more about resources and support we have available for you today.
Text BIG to 741741 to text confidentially with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free.
Mental Health Resources
Resources for Caring Adults Supporting Youth
National Alliance On Mental Illness
Navigating a Mental Health Crisis Guide
Mental Health, Identity, and Race
The BBBSA Video Shorts are for volunteer Bigs, parents/guardians, and youth on a variety of topics that impact their daily life and relationships.