Suicide Crisis: Kids Grappling with Mental Fatigue after Months of Pandemic Isolation

July 8, 2021

GREENVILLE, S.C.— America’s children are finding that the “new normal” is anything but normal. Teens and children trying to re-establish life after months of isolation, relentless social distancing, enforced masking, and rising death tolls on the news cannot handle the stress. Adolescents with fewer support structures and undeveloped coping skills are unraveling physically and mentally. Some have reached the point of desperation or suicidal thoughts and actions.

Trail Life USA (TrailLifeUSA.com) sees this as an unprecedented moment to support families, bring young people together, apply biblical principles to difficult situations, and rebuild kids’ mental health.

Hospitals have experienced a rise in youth inpatients. Colorado Children’s Hospital in late May declared a state of emergency because emergency beds were overrun with suicidal kids and those struggling with psychiatric problems, problems they attribute to the pandemic.

The Associated Press quotes one teen, a self-described “stereotypical introvert” with clinical anxiety, who worried about returning as a senior. Fighting bouts of depression from isolation, the teen said, “…I’m feeling like I’m finally reaching the end and I’m just getting so tired at this point,” adding, “I think I don’t have the energy for happiness.”

Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA states, “So many leaders missed the opportunity to model courage and resolve to young people in the face of difficulty, choosing to instill fear and panic instead. Surely there is great loss in the midst of a global pandemic, but I would argue that our mishandling of the opportunity to communicate optimism and to be creative in meeting the challenge is causing these aftershocks that have particularly set boys back. That’s why in Trail Life we continued to meet in the outdoors in safe and creative ways. We knew the ‘cure’ could be worse than the disease and we made sure boys could continue to find purpose in times of difficulty.”

Trail Life USA is the premier national character development organization for young men producing godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Trail Life’s mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Troops exist in all 50 states and are growing as Trail Life USA expands around the country. Get involved in a Troop near you, or Start a Troop in your community today.  

Since Trail Life USA launched on January 1, 2014, it has grown to over 30,000 members in over 850 Troops across the nation. The K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills. A robust awards program motivates young men to grow on a personal level to become role models and leaders among their peers. Living the Trail Life USA is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.    

Discover more about Trail Life USA at TrailLifeUSA.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or Vimeo

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To interview Mark Hancock from Trail Life USA, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.