Goldie Hawn is sharing her concerns for the well-being of children during the COVID-19 pandemic, not just physically but also mentally.
In an op-ed that for USA Today, Hawn gets candid about the toll the ongoing pandemic is taking on kids’ mental health.
“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. The COVID era has changed our children’s lives in far more real, tangible ways — social distancing, school closures, daily mask use,” writes Hawn, who is founder and CEO of MindUP for Life through her charity the Hawn Foundation.
“Kids are afraid of people, spaces, even the air around them — a level of constant fear not seen in decades,” she continues, recalling her own childhood during the Cold War and the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation.
“In early 2021, emergency room visits in the United States for suspected suicide attempts were 51 per cent higher for adolescent girls and 4 per cent higher for adolescent boys, compared with the same time period in early 2019,” she adds.
According to Hawn, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.”
“This tells us that as a nation, we have failed our children,” Hawn states. “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?”
Looking to the future, Hawn points out that while humanity will survive the pandemic, “I’m 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.”
Hawn ends her essay on a hopeful note. “If we get it right,” she concludes, “today’s kids could emerge as the strongest generation America has ever produced.
On Instagram, Hawn’s son Oliver Hudson called the op-ed a “must read” for anyone, whether with kids or without.