Mental Health Of Tennessee Children Getting Worse Say Reports

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

New reports say that the mental health of children in Tennessee – and all across America – is getting worse. A variety of factors may be to blame, including the repercussions that came from schools being closed during the pandemic and access to social media.

This report states that while weekly Emergency Department visits for mental health conditions, suicide concerns, and drug overdoses have decreased since fall of 2021 among 12 to 17-year-olds, as of last fall, weekly visits for these concerns were at or higher than the pre-pandemic baseline among females in that age group.

This CDC report says that nearly 3 in 5 (57%) of American teen girls felt “persistently sad or hopeless” in 2021 – an increase of nearly 60% over the past decade and the highest level reported in that same time period.

The Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy polled parents last fall on a variety of topics related to their children. Published this month, the poll found that 1 in 3 parents have a child diagnosed with a mental health condition and their child’s mental health, including risk of suicide, was number 2 out of 5 top concerns that parents had.

And the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory last week that states that children and teens who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media double the risk of mental health issues including depression and anxiety. On average, a typical teen spends at least 3 and a half hours a day on social media.

“Young people are experiencing a level of distress that calls on us to act with urgency and compassion,” said CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health Director Kathleen Ethier, Ph.D. Ethier believes the solution is to put “the right programs and services in place” in schools.

Heather Kreth, a pediatric psychologist with The Center for Child Health Policy at Vanderbilt University says that mental health services are lacking both nationally and within the state.

Lawmakers passed a $230 million school safety bill  earlier this year that sets aside $8 million for additional behavioral health funding while The Youth Mental Health Safety Act, which would have protected children by blocking harmful content on electronic devices, was deferred until next year’s session.

Meanwhile, a $250 million mental health trust fund that Governor Bill Lee first advocated for in his 2020 State of the State address has yet to be put to work. Lee pushed for the money to be set aside “to assist K-12 families who are facing significant mental health issues in the wake of COVID-19.” Lee wanted more clinical services in schools, mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and bullying prevention among other programs.

The fund has so far earned $7.1 million in interest. The majority of the fund – $225 million – is designed to accrue interest in order to provide perpetual funding for services but it remains uncertain when the remaining $25 million sitting in a special reserve account will be spent on mental health programs.

A board oversees the fund and may authorize funds to be spent by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. According to Tennessee Treasury spokeswoman Shelli King, $8.75 million in spending has been authorized but decisions on how it will be spent are not expected until sometime in the coming year.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

2 thoughts on “Mental Health Of Tennessee Children Getting Worse Say Reports

  • May 31, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Robin Steeman and Moms for Liberty/Williamson County Chapter have identified the God-less but maxist infused curriculum and culture of our public schools as a key reason for our children’s mental health crisis.

    I would add that those same issues are throughout our entire culture and have invaded all forms of entertainment as well as the children’s homes.

    Add that to unstable homes, lack of a home life, and disintegrated relationships as so much “life” now takes place online/social media … no wonder these children are mentally ill and depressed!

    Refuse to expose them to current pop culture, read quality books to them and have them read, read, read. Get them out of doors and in church. Homeschool. Be VERY choosy about their friends and family friends. Eat meals together and spend time on family hobbies. Stop exposing them to early sexualization, early exposure to current sexual “norms”, the idea that personality type, clothing preferences, moods, emotions and career or hobby choices determine sexuality. Teach them their bodies are Fine the way they are and help them exercise, be outside and eat healthfully.

  • June 1, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    Eliminate all subjects and coarse studies based on feelings and gender bending, and ofcoarse sex education, it’s not any schools job, replace it with biology
    Add Small Business accounting and Administration. Starting in sixth grade. Curriculum written by small business owners and managers, definitely not any marxist “higher ed” so called experts. Or human resource social engineering space fillers.


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