Report: Mental Health Needs Rising Among Women and Young Michiganders

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Women and young people have faced increased behavioral health issues since before the pandemic, according to a new report, which assessed the well-being of women and children.

The United Health Foundation study looked at more than 100 metrics, ranging from physical health to the determinants of emotional, social and behavioral health.

Dr Ravi Johar, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare, said mental distress in women, adolescents and children was on the rise.

“Just over 18% of women in the United States said that in the past 30 days, 14 of them were not feeling well mentally,” Johar reported. “So for more than half of the month, one in five women was not feeling well.”

Nationally, teen suicide has jumped 26% since 2014. The report found that more than 7,000 children between the ages of 15 and 19 ended their own life in the two years before the onset of the pandemic.

Bobby Dorigo Jones, Michigan Policy and Outreach Coordinator for Children, noted that relationship building is essential for youth mental health.

He said it’s important to grow Michigan’s mental health care workforce and make sure families know where they can go if they need support.

“To be able to support the behavioral health of young people emerging from this pandemic, lawmakers must support stability of resources, stability of services and stability of relationships,” Jones urged.

The report also showed that fewer children are accessing developmental screenings and pediatric well visits nationwide.

Johar pointed out that a national shortage of doctors is contributing to the decline in the number of children in waiting rooms.

“We know there is reduced access to pediatricians and women’s health professionals,” Johar observed. “So maybe telehealth can help with some of these things.”

Most Michigan residents have access to health insurance. Between 3% and 4% of Michigan children are uninsured, as are between 7% and 8% of women. The Great Lakes state ranks 22nd for physical activity among children, with just over 23% of them being active for at least 60 minutes a day.

Originally posted Nov 2, 2021 on Michigan News Connection. It is shared here with permission.

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