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Op-Ed: A More Sinister Pandemic and a Ray of Hope

For World Mental Health Day (10/10), New Film Offers HOPE to Struggling Youth

by Dr. John DeGarmo

OKLAHOMA – In the heart of our nation, an unrelenting crisis rages on, one that threatens the very essence of our youth, yet it remains mostly untouched by silence and indifference. This relentless pandemic, far more sinister than any virus, tirelessly assaults our children’s mental health.

Mental health, the true calamity of our times, is wreaking havoc on young people. Mental Health America’s  grim statistics reveal over 2.7 million young souls, 11.5% of our precious youth, are ensnared by the suffocating grip of severe major depression. The CDC paints an equally harrowing picture and report that around 15% of American children sought mental health treatment in 2021.

The sobering revelation doesn’t stop there. A survey by TimelyMD shows that a staggering 50% of college students consider mental health their top stressor for 2023, with anxiety, depression, and stress affecting 71% of these students.

Tragically, the plague of suicide looms ever larger over our youth, with a chilling 51% spike in attempts among girls aged 12 to 17 in 2021 compared to the pre-COVID era of 2019 (according to CDC). Boys in the same age group experienced a 4% increase. Mental health struggles often lead to substance abuse, with one-third of high school students admitting to using drugs or alcohol in 2021.

The digital world, touted as a haven for connection, can become a more dangerous place. Excessive social media use increases loneliness, negativity, depression, and crumbling self-esteem issues, as noted by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. Cyberbullying adds to the torment, allowing bullies to inflict pain 24/7.

We, as a society and parents, must acknowledge our role in this crisis by allowing un-monitored time for our children’s online activities, exposing them to unknown dangers and inviting predatory influences in their lives.

Sadly, many of our children’s mental health issues go unaddressed due to scarce resources and overburdened healthcare workers as government funding and resources are scarce. Hollywood’s own obsession with glamorization of unhealthy lifestyles contributes to the problem.

Amid this despair, a timely new independent film offers a glimmer of hope. WHAT RHYMES WITH REASON is releasing across the country for a special one-day debut on World Mental Health Day (10/10). This refreshingly family-friendly film could save lives and at the very least will spark crucial conversations among youth, parents, caregivers, and peers.

For those seeking help and have no one to talk to, reach out to the new 988 Mental Health-line for Mental Health and suicide prevention or TheHopeLine.com for 24/7 live chat.

For Press Inquiries – Contact Ben Laurro, Ben@PurePublicity.com,  818-209-1209

Ticket info and trailer for What Rhymes with Reason can be viewed here: https://www.fathomevents.com/events/What-Rhymes-with-Reason

Dr. John DeGarmo, a tireless advocate author and media expert, reminds us of our shared responsibility to protect our youth from this harrowing crisis. For contact info or to learn more visit https://www.drjohndegarmofostercare.com/about.html

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