Goldie Hawn emphasized the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on America’s children in an op-ed published Wednesday.
Hawn likened the “existential dread” felt by children amid the coronavirus pandemic to the “dread” felt by children following the Cold War, the Challenger crash and 9/11 in an op-ed for USA Today.
“Today, we are in the midst of a national trauma that could very well surpass 9/11 and approach the heightened terror of the Cold War years,” Hawn wrote. “The COVID era has changed our children’s lives in far more real, tangible ways — social distancing, school closures, daily mask use.”
The “Overboard” actress went on to say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the U.S. surgeon general and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that “the state of our children’s mental health is now at the level of a national emergency.”
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“This tells us that as a nation, we have failed our children,” she continued. “The few federal and state dollars that get directed to youth ‘mental health’ invariably end up being earmarked for addiction and ‘crisis care,’ addressing only the most severe disorders. There are modest funds once a kid ends up in a hospital. But what about before?”
“We are not properly funding preventive care and early interventions that normalize the mental struggles every individual has at some level,” Hawn added. “There are everyday tools for mental fitness, just as there are for exercise and healthy eating; we just don’t teach them in any systematic way to our nation’s children.”
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Hawn wrote about her own personal “two-decade journey” working with educators and scientists to develop a curriculum for children that would help them “understand the complex chemical reactions that drive emotions” and “regulate” them when necessary.
Hawn has been an advocate for children’s mental health since founding the non-profit MindUp in 2003. The organization was started to “help children develop the knowledge and tools they need to manage stress, regulate emotions and face the challenges of the 21st century with optimism, resilience and compassion.” MindUp directly deals with childhood aggression, anxiety, depression and suicide.
Hawn noted in the op-ed the rising suspected suicide attempt rates in the United States.
“Kids are afraid of people, spaces, even the air around them — a level of constant fear not seen in decades. In early 2021, emergency room visits in the United States for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher for adolescent girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys, compared with the same time period in early 2019,” she wrote.
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Hawn ended her writing by stating that we will “survive” the COVID-19 pandemic but noted that she’s “not sure we can survive an entire generation whose collective trauma sends them hobbling into adulthood.”
“We need more research, more preventative care and more early intervention. And there’s still time,” she wrote. “If we get it right, today’s kids could emerge as the strongest generation America has ever produced.”
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).