About ACS is still here!
Anxiety and depression in high school-aged children have been on the rise since 2012. It’s a phenomenon that cuts across all demographic lines–suburban, urban, and rural; teens who are college bound, and those who aren’t. An estimated 1 in 5 teens and young adults suffer from depression, and about 30% of girls and 20% of boys have had an anxiety disorder.
How does suffering from depression and anxiety actually affect our children’s lives? Depression impairs their daily function – making otherwise “normal” tasks seem overwhelming. Teens suffering from anxiety and depression may hide their pain until it becomes life-threatening. Alarmingly, suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 15 - 24. We know this is a real threat to the health of our children, yet a mere 30% of those with a diagnosable disorder receive any type of support or treatment. Imagine if only 30% of kids dealing with a physical health problem – a sports injury, bronchitis, or an ear infection – received treatment! How we treat mental health is truly shameful!
What is preventing everyone from seeking help? Sadly, we know that even with all the recent tragedies of losing teens to suicide in our community, there is still a huge stigma around speaking about mental health or seeking help when in need. At ACS, we envision a community where a young person in need of support would feel completely comfortable asking for it, and a community where services are always readily available. This would mean that at every teenager’s home, everyone would be fine with the fact that children, in fact everyone, struggle at times. As a community, we need to encourage everyone to openly discuss their emotions without the fear of being seen as weak. And as a society, we need to get to a place where seeking help for depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues is no different than getting help for the flu or a broken arm.
ACS’ goal over the next five years is to increase the number of clients served by 30%, from 9,500 to 12,500 by 2021. This, of course, requires continued growth in all of our programs. To reach this goal, ACS will need to hire additional mental health specialists, increase our capacity to provide more internships for the future leaders of the mental health field, and enhance the resources necessary to educate our communities to support our young people to be who they are, and most importantly, accept them just that way. In essence, to reach this goal, we need your help!
All of you, just by reading this letter today – coupled with your care and interest in our cause - are helping to close the gap and decrease the stigma. We need your financial support to expand our services so that we can help more youth and families in the communities we share.
ACS is still here! By continuing your support this year, you can join ACS in helping youth to overcome obstacles, develop confidence, and be empowered to build healthy and happy futures. Your financial help can truly save a life, right here, right now in your community!
Dr. Philippe Rey