A growing number of youth across the world are facing a crisis. Violence, escalating economic inequality, and questions of political legitimacy are some of the issues that are driving their troubles. Additionally, many young people lack the necessary skills to be contributing members of society. In these situations, they can often be more vulnerable to sexual and physical exploitation.
The NRS is working to address the problem of youth in crisis. Their new report, titled Youth in Crisis: What the Data is Telling Us, highlights the needs of these vulnerable young people and the barriers that prevent them from receiving services. A large number of youth in crisis were experiencing homelessness or contemplating it. Moreover, one-third of high school students experienced persistent sadness. An alarming 19% of youth had seriously considered or made plans to kill themselves in the past year.
In addition to the ill effects of poverty on the young, the problem of HIV/AIDS is also becoming more severe. This disease has ravaged many countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, a thriving trafficking industry targets women across the world, with 700,000 to two million women being trafficked each year. Often, young women are lured into exploitation by false employment promises. In some cases, impoverished families sell their daughters to earn a living. Ultimately, these girls become bonded labour or domestic servants, and are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
The collapse of the economy is one of the main reasons why youth are suffering from such conditions. Many young people are unable to find employment and their future is uncertain. This results in an increased risk of violent conflict. The ILO estimates that about 400 million decent jobs are needed to help youth reach their full productive potential. While this number is high, it may not be attainable in the short-term. The consequences of failing to provide decent employment opportunities for youth will be long-term.
As a result, many youth are now struggling with mental illness. The suicide rate among young people in the U.S. increased by over 50 percent from 2007 to 2018. Early estimates predict that by 2020 there will be more than 6,600 youth suicide deaths. Fortunately, there is help available for youth who are struggling.
The Crisis Resolution Center offers services to youth and their families. The center’s program is designed to reduce the negative effects of adolescent substance abuse while promoting a healthy family life. It also offers parenting education and aftercare services for parents. Its 10 week intensive period involves intensive daily meetings with the teens. The teens are drug-tested three times per week and undergo family, individual, and group therapy. All of these services are free and confidential.
A youth in crisis may be difficult to identify. They may appear to be rebellious or abusive to an untrained eye. However, officers trained in CIT-Youth can identify when a young person is experiencing a mental or emotional crisis. With this training, officers can help youth from becoming a statistic.
A youth in crisis can call a free crisis hotline for help. The crisis provider will evaluate the current risks of suicide and assess the level of care needed. Afterwards, the provider will determine the best course of action. If the youth needs more intensive care, a counselor may be able to recommend counseling for them. If there are not enough resources, a youth in crisis may contact a therapist to find a solution.
A youth in crisis can be admitted to a youth crisis unit for intensive therapy. This 16-bed unit offers short-term, intensive mental health care. Its multidisciplinary team includes a psychiatrist, a care coordinator, and masters-level clinicians. The youth may stay between three and five days on the unit.