Children’s mental health needs go unmet as COVID pandemic drags on

In 2017, I campaigned in every corner of Alabama, listening to people’s hopes, dreams and fears. I heard about jobs, education and college football (I was in Alabama, after all), but I was surprised to hear sobering statistics and heart-breaking stories about the dramatic increase in mental health concerns.

Particularly disturbing were reports about the rise in depression, anxiety, loneliness, trauma and suicidal thoughts among our youth.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, I worked with Democrats and Republicans on several bills to address the urgent needs I was seeing, but I knew this problem demanded a more comprehensive solution.

Then the pandemic hit and an already dire situation became desperate.

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