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January 18, 2022 11:13 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs sits down with Dr. Jimmy Myers to discuss the critical issue of mental health struggles among our nation’s youth, a crisis which has been exacerbated by the nearly two-year long COVID-19 pandemic.
Policy matters and engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will flow better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters. Tracy Devitt Griggs thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters over the past few years we've heard that actions intended to keep Americans safer and healthier in regard to co-that actually had some negative mental health effects that coming in the midst of a suicide rate that was already concerning in the years prior to the onset of the pandemic. For example here North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services release date at just this past November, which shows that North Carolina's suicide rate between 2015 and 2019, was more than double the homicide rate joining us to help examine what could be going on with mental health in our country is Dr. Jimmy Myers, founder and CEO of the Timothy center which offers Christian counseling to 21st-century families.
Dr. Myers is also author of several books including Peerless parenting how to raise faithful kids in a secular culture, which he co-authored with George Barna with Dr. Jimmy Myers.
Welcome to family policy matters. Thank you so much for having me start off if you would give us an idea of the trajectory of mental health here in America before and now through the pandemic, mental health, especially especially for those under 21 is been on the decline. As far as good mental health. Even before the pandemic and now it's just like you juiced this problem with steroids and gotten exponentially worse thing beforehand. Again, especially those under 21. Your we really started receiving increasing loneliness and depression and anxiety. We saw these numbers rising in the late 2000 2000 finish around in their and that increase coincide with the widespread use of high-speed Internet and smart phones and social media. These type of things and then when you you add to that what happened with the lockdown and almost looking for Avery's in the world not to have kids go back to school in person is partially premarital population that are for the most part, statistically, not at risk. So you saw that just make these matters so much worse. There's a an article in the New York Times a few weeks ago program is quoted from a principal from school in the Pennsylvania and he was quoting his kids in the school. He said there like the world out of control, so why should I be coming when you have the pandemic lockdown on top of what we were seeing increased loneliness and depression. Anyway and then you have the isolation of home learning some wisdom was at home, not learning because of the precipitous great drop in many, many if not most students because of and then you have the riots BLM antiforeign six and then just wearing a man ask especially young children Anxiety that induces that I better wear this serious risk of the people around me that normally I be waiting to be afraid that they are going to hurt me with some invisible illness. The anxiety is just absolutely through the and there are numerous studies that are showing that Jim is experiencing much more stress and anxiety than the rest of the population. When you put it all in perspective, like that was a lot of stress for even those of us who are adults right so poor kids they don't have anything to look.
You know, no history to look back unnecessarily to see that things could possibly get better so are there long-term effects to this or do we think that it's can even itself out after the pandemic dissipates at some point this is happened before. So we don't know this is massive experiment, experts said. This is what we must do in order to be safe. And then we learned about every six weeks. Those absolute mandatory things changed so we don't we don't know if forcing kids to wear masks closing in person learning, you know, when you see kids outside on the playground, and they're all wearing masks outside in the wind and we don't we don't know what the law we know short-term, it is jacked up there. Anxiety levels long-term. We don't know what I guess were about all find out. Let me ask you to speculate.
So you spoke about experts. Do you think it could have an effect on this generation. Specially the younger the kids are younger. Now there perception of authority going forward course used to be you could get a degree in political science, but now all times of political.
I don't know about you but I know when I see you.
There's a study out saying something. The first thing I do is look to do the study. You can't necessarily trust what would be empirical studies. You can't trust what normally would be accepted.
Experts in the field there was a day you could trust the media not to just give a completely biased view of events and so absolutely I think there's going to be. I doubt of the 40 a.m. and pretty much all different kinds of authority because who is it that you trust some recommendations for parents to say specifically about the issue surrounding co-that how do we talk to our kids and grandkids will first. You know, just a general rule, parenting parents for the emotional tone of the home. Therefore, if you are frightened if you were very very anxious about normal life activities, and so are your kids so you're one of our jobs is to normalize your give a bigger perspective for our children could resume and generally they don't have that kind of school perspective.
But when you have a parent that every time some type of news program is on there watching it or make comments to each other you know just about how horrible this is in there on twitter.
They're all grandma Marilyn whatever newsfeeds and you see that the parent is really upset about the children are going to reflect that level of anxiety, especially for trolling for teenagers. Hopefully kids younger than teens are not going to be having this trip really drastically reduce their social media consumption their gaming in these other isolating activities.
Just stop it if you didn't really pay attention to how much time they will online before we really need to pay attention now get them outside force them out side into the sunlight with actual she actual human social interaction through their church or their sports teams give them outside and get on with other people and then again get help talk to somebody there's help in your community mother but that is the parent especially sees the kid is struggling more than normal. You're seeing a really deviation from their normal behavior and thinking and feeling patterns. Don't hesitate to let them go and talk with somebody a lot of things from that sentence, I'd love to unpack. Let's talk a little more just about social media regarding COBIT because I think if you talk to young people, they would say well I more connected, then yeah you know I connected to so many different people. What is it about social media that is not connecting or maybe artificially connecting our kids in causing this feeling of isolation. Do you think more interaction on social media.
The higher levels of loneliness and perceived depression so they think that they have. They think that they're socially connected but to use your work with accurate use of artificial. One thing we've learned from this whole social media thing is that your we've always known that no man is an island, but we also now know that no man's grant station we we were not built for 24 seven social interaction. Just want all the bad things that come with that now are happening 24 seven. The others knew there's this social media enmeshment and when it when the kid hit 13 years bigotry jobs basically form their own identities and seek their own independent, but now that is just beginning. In these young early adolescence. This constant social media use frozen orange in that process would become fixated on comparisons and those comparisons are real. They're trying to look like these influencers and these influencers don't look like that there your most photo shopping and you want the most common cognitive distortions in psychology is something called feelings about facts just because you feel a certain way doesn't make it true. But today we have our feelings are given. This is what social reviews so influences how we feel about something or how we perceive it today. Feelings supersede tracks.
A recent Stuyvesant 2021 show that 40% of 18 to 24-year-olds were claiming to be something other than heterosexual, and the LGBT community that since we call the caves has always been know to be generous and say around 3% and today, 40% will. That's not that's not that's no longer biological if there is a very strong social component to all of this and when it comes to social media is if your audience is not seen the Netflix film social dilemma. They really need to, because they will learn that all devices all gaming all social media platforms have been designed to be addictive and all other addictions, gambling and smoking and alcohol at all those of been restricted subject and yet we give kids unfettered access to these dopamine producing devices I quoted at the beginning a really tragic quote about suicide in North Carolina. Are you seeing this all working together, as is all of this.
Part of what's causing kids to ultimately take their own lives. You give anyone your suicidal ideation. It's because of their feeling that the immense pain and with adolescents, especially a lot of time all the time. You gotta take it extremely seriously there's any verbalization or whatever trip Strictures with but with many adolescence the other that they don't want to die as much if they want someone to understand how bad they want somebody to note which is why there are so many more attempted suicide or threats than there are actual suicide socially and in these younger kids. And so when we have the isolation from at-home morning and were not going to movies anymore or no you can't go to that because we got to stay home all of that is forcing upon kids that are vulnerable population.
Anyway, into even deeper isolation and so there's no one there to notice how bad their feeling there's no one there to see what's going on with them and so it again is just made what it was already a problem with kids so much worse. They also mentioned for parents not to hesitate to get help if there seeing some of these mental health issues. Well not only in their children, but there their spouse.
Perhaps her family member. Is there less stigma than there used to be about going to seek help for a mental health issues. Do you think our people readily doing this these days.
I think you'd better but oddly, there is still a stigma to it.
I think that's especially true for anyone in your audience, it may be, you know, in the faith community because we don't understand that good depression anxiety. These are the physiological malfunction of your body chemistry. But instead of it being a physiological malfunction in your blood sugar which give the diabetes is a chemical imbalance of your neurotransmitters in your brain, but it it is just a physiological malfunction, but because it impacts the way you think and feel and people who wouldn't freshly talk about Christians here know fear is the opposite of faith alive that anxiety out the laws and so I must not have very much faith in the joy of the Lord is my strength will I don't have a lot of joy of the Lord and so within the faith community.
There's something wrong with my faith if I just believe more images prayed more than this would go away and yes, absolutely. God can step in and miraculously you know intervene, but that of a miracle and not Tuesday afternoon could let that happen very often, so we can't plan DR. Jimmy Myers with the Timothy center in Austin, Texas you so much for being with us today on family policy matters even listening to family calls. We hope you enjoyed the program and plenitude in again next week to listen to the show online insulin more about NC families work to them. Encourage and inspire families across been through a lot of good our website it NC family.award that's NC family.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family