Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is combating a spike in mental health issues caused or made worse by the pandemic. According to government statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Census Bureau, 41% of families now report anxiety or depressive disorders, a pre-pandemic increase of 400%. The situation is more concerning for our nation’s teens, with 56% reporting anxiety or depression and a disturbing 26% admitting to suicidal thoughts.
“All of us have been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another; however, statistics show low-income and underserved communities are at the greatest risk of suffering long-term adverse effects as a result of emotional trauma,” said Jaene Miranda, president & CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. “With the concerning local and national statistics on mental health, we are prepared to provide the extra help needed to our Club members.”
It is the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs to serve the communities and children that need us most. Traditionally Clubs are located in areas of high poverty. Currently, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County provides a variety of programs to help children and teens build resilience and develop healthy coping skills to manage difficult emotions effectively. Extra discussions and programs are being held throughout May to mark Mental Health Awareness Month. Also, starting this month, free mental health counseling will be offered to Club members and parents at the Delray Beach and Boca Raton Clubs.
“We do whatever it takes to make sure that all Club members reach their full potential. It’s imperative that the emotional aftermath of the pandemic does not cause a long-lasting negative impact,” continued Miranda. “This is an added cost in a year with many extra costs due to the pandemic. We’re working hard to raise awareness and the funds needed to keep the pandemic recovery on track.”
In addition to a greater focus on mental health, the organization’s pandemic recovery plan also includes continuing its emergency hunger relief programs and initiatives to reduce the growing achievement gap for students. Donations for the expanded mental health programs and other pandemic recovery efforts can be made at www.standupforthechildren.com or click the button below.