NEW YORK - It’s easy to assume life as a minor in New York City is carefree and easy, but beneath the surface, teens aren't exempt from the mental health struggles we all feel from time to time.
A study from JAMA Pediatrics published last month found 1 in 5 teens nationally suffered major depressive disorder symptoms in 2021; yet less than half received the treatment they needed.
"Many of those who need help the most cannot afford or access it," said Mayor Adams.
Those numbers are part of the reason why Adams and the Health Department came together Wednesday to announce the launch of TeenSpace, his administration's new mental health initiative aimed at supporting New York's teenagers.
"All New York City teenagers 13 to 17 years old can talk text or make video calls to licensed therapists for free through the city’s new online teen space service," said Adams.
TeenSapce aims to bring access to therapy right to the fingertips of the city's young people. Eligible teens can sign up at talkspace.com/NYC, and can choose from free self-guided sessions or get started with therapy immediately with their parents' consent.
"On our platform teens are matched with therapists that can they can message 24-7 as many times as they want," John Cohen, the CEO of Talk Space said.
"I think it’ll be beneficial because teens go through a lot of mental health issues especially being in high school the bullies the clicks. It’s a lot for people to handle," one teen responded.
"Therapy rates have gone up. There aren’t a lot of therapists in the city in general. I feel like it will benefit a lot of teens just expressing themselves in general," added another.
In 2021, nearly 40 percent of New York City high schoolers reported feeling sad or hopeless during the past year so much, they stopped doing things that usually made them happy.
"The Percentage of local high schoolers who having suicidal thoughts is up by 30 percent over the last decade," said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The Adams Administration is hoping their efforts can help meet them where they are.