A Former Board Member’s Insights on The Women’s Center and Teen Mental Health.

By Madelyn Pulver Jennings, retired senior Human Resources Executive, Gannet Co. (June 2021)

The Women’s Center is raising funds to expand the resources and professionals dedicated to address the healing of adolescents. Increased funding enables hiring more therapists who specialize working with this population. Guidance counselors, school administrators and local pediatricians will be our partners in early intervention efforts to connect teens to The Women’s Center support services.

A recent CDC study revealed that 20% of teen hospitalization between January 1 and March 21, 2021, were for psychiatric emergencies, not COVID. CDC data also show a 31% rise in the proportion of 12 to 17-year-olds mental-health-related emergency-department visits for children in 2020 compared with 2019.

Data from Children’s Hospital of Oakland show a 66% increase in 10- to 17-year-olds screening positive for active or recent suicidal ideation in its emergency department between March and October 2020.

Colorado Children’s Hospital demands for pediatric mental-health emergency-department visits were up 90% in 2021 compared with 2019.

These issues are national in scope.

Since you are reading this message, you must care about the well-being of others and value The Women’s Center’s response to our neighbors in their times of need.

Perhaps you share my concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and especially on teens. Adolescence is already in a challenging time of life. Social interactions are important and integral to healthy development. The media continues to spotlight how the profound isolation gravely worsens the ability of our young people to cope. Too many of our youth are suffering from anxiety, depression, and many are experiencing suicidal thoughts. The Women’s Center has been directly impacted. The requests for adolescent mental health counseling sessions increased by 21% in 2020 compared to 2019.

This is what is occurring here and now where we live and work and raise our families. It motives me to take action and be part of the solution.

As a board member and supporter for over 25 years, I know that The Women’s Center is a unique gem. No other non-profit in our region delivers quality mental health care to women, men, teens and children and is accessible to those with and without insurance. The need for this grows. I recently learned that in 2020 The Women’s Center experienced an 11% increase in the Reduced Fee/Sliding Scale counseling hours over 2019 levels.

Timely action is needed.

From my long engagement as a donor and volunteer, it’s evident that The Center is critical to providing the response needed today. I believe together we can make a very important impact by supporting this needed work. You are invited to join me!


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