2022 Kids Count Data Book: National, State-by-State Data Show Depth of Mental Health Pandemic for Youth

Posted by Annie E. Casey Foundation on August 16, 2022

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released the 2022 KIDS COUNT® Data Book that focuses on youth mental health and affirms a recent assessment by U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy that there is an urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. Using a mix of pre-pandemic and more recent figures, the Data Book found an increase of 1.5 million children between 2016 and 2020 who struggled with compromised mental health. A deeper analysis of federal surveys found racial, ethnicity, and sexual orientation disparities.

The Foundation found that of the “nine percent of all high-schoolers living with mental health and wellness conditions, 12% of Black students, 13% of students of two or more races, and 26% of American Indian or Native Alaskan high-schoolers attempted suicide in the year before 2020.” And while six percent of heterosexual high school students of all races and ethnicities attempted suicide, the share was 23% for gay, lesbian, or bisexual students. The Casey Foundation urges lawmakers to address “the U.S. surgeon general’s advisory warning and respond by developing programs and policies” that prioritize providing equitable mental health care that considers young people’s experiences and identities and meets kids’ basic needs.

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