Kids in crisis: How to take action on youth mental health

Youth mental health is at a crisis point
Kids are in trouble with their mental health. Find out what struggling looks like and what you can do and say to help the young people in your life.
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How worried are you about the mental health of a young person in your life?

Young people were already struggling with their mental health before the pandemic and now depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide have surged.

In 2022, an all-time high number of Minnesota students reported mental health problems, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Girls are faring even worse. Nearly three out of five teenage girls felt persistent sadness in 2021, which is double the rate of boys, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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There’s a growing need for trained mental health professionals but those are hard to come by, especially in rural Minnesota.

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with two Minnesota professionals, one who runs youth organizations and another who runs a center that works to increase access to behavioral health services in greater Minnesota.

They talk about how to recognize signs of mental health challenges and what to do and say to help that young person in your life.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a crisis, call or text 988, Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or text MN to 741741. Talk to trained counselors who care, 24/7/365.

If you or a loved one is at imminent risk, please contact 911 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team officer.


  • Verna Cornelia Price is CEO of The Power of People Consulting Group, a leadership and management consulting firm. She’s also co-founder of Girls Taking Action and Boys of Hope. Those organizations address increased violence and decreased academic engagement in girls and boys grades 6 to 12.

  • Thad Shunkwiler is an associate professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato and the director of the Center for Rural Behavioral Health. His passion and expertise is in researching trends of mental health in rural areas. 

two people sitting in a studio
MPR News host Angela Davis talks with Verna Cornelia Price about the importance of young people's mental health and what to do to help.
Danelle Cloutier | MPR News

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