Rates of trauma, depression, anxiety, and suicide among children and teens in New York City and around the state have risen drastically over the past several years. According to 2023 statistics from Mental Health America, 16 percent of adolescents in New York State—more than 200,000 teens—experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. And 1 in 10 had a severe major depressive episode. In addition, the report found that 86,000 New York State teens struggled with substance use disorder.
At the same time, access to New York behavioral health treatment has become increasingly limited. Only one-third of teens with depression received any consistent mental health services. There is a shortage of in-school services, local therapists, and residential treatment centers for teens in New York, as well as adolescent day treatment programs in NYC and surrounding areas. The lack of New York teen mental health services has far-reaching implications for the state’s youth.
New Research on Adolescent Mental Health in NYC
The Repercussions of the Pandemic on New York Youth
As the epicenter of the COVID pandemic in 2020, New York City continues to feel the mental health repercussions of that historic time. A report by the United Hospital Fund and Boston Consulting Group found that 4,200 children and teens in New York State lost a parent or caregiver to coronavirus during the first five months of the pandemic. More than 50 percent of those youth live in New York City.
As a result of the trauma of losing a loved one, many of these children and teens face ongoing struggles with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. And even teens who did not lose a loved one often knew someone who did, and experienced vicarious trauma due to their constant proximity to the loss and fear surrounding COVID.
How Young People of Color in NYC Are Affected
The fallout from the pandemic has disproportionately impacted youth of color. Black and Hispanic youth were twice as likely as Asian or white youth to lose a parent or caregiver to COVID.
Moreover, communities of color experienced more severe health and economic impacts as a result of inequities perpetuated by systemic racism. Police violence and political unrest also negatively affect the well-being of Black youth.
These factors all contribute to the rising suicide rate among Black teens, which has increased more quickly than that of other youth demographics.
The Need for Outpatient and Residential Treatment Centers for Teens in New York
As adolescent mental health in NYC declines, state and NYC mental health services are unable to meet the growing need. According to the Mental Health America’s rankings, more than 50 percent of youth in New York State with major depression received no mental health services at all. That’s more than 100,000 youth with depression who had no access at all to New York behavioral health services. Moreover, only 34 percent of youth with severe depression received any consistent care. That’s not surprising given that there are only two child psychiatrists per every 10,000 youth in the state, as well as a lack of other trained mental health professionals.
In addition, a report from the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) showed a shortage of guidance counselors and social workers within the New York City school system. The report found that among 1,600 schools in the city, 898 were operating above the recommended ratio of one guidance counselor per 250 students, including 161 schools with high school students. This shortfall is significant, because for many children and teens with mental health conditions, schools are the only place to access NYC mental health services.
Furthermore, Black and Hispanic youth are even less likely than their peers to receive teen mental health treatment services in New York due to obstacles including language barriers, limited availability to culturally competent care, and lack of health insurance. In addition, they may be less apt to seek care due to higher levels of mental health stigma within their communities.
Statistics on Teen Mental Health Disorders and Substance Use in New York
of NYC high school students have attempted suicide
NYC teens report feeling sad or hopeless each month
1 out of every 1000
children and teens in New York State lost a parent or caregiver to COVID
of NY youth with depression receive no consistent care
youth in the New York State have substance use disorder
Is proven to reduce symptoms of adolescent PTSD, anxiety, and depression
Teen Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in New York
Dual diagnosis treatment centers provide both addiction treatment and treatment for co-occurring disorders. This type of treatment program is a good fit for teens in New York who struggle with substance use disorder in addition to other mental health conditions, such as depression and other mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma/PTSD, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Adolescents struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders need addiction services in addition to anxiety and depression treatment programs. The most effective dual diagnosis treatment programs provide individualized treatment plans in a therapeutic environment facilitated by trained mental health professionals, with programming that includes peer support in group therapy, evidence-based therapies, coping skills training, and special education services.
The Benefits of Traveling for Teen Treatment
Newport Academy’s adolescent mental health programs serve teens from New York City and New York State, through our outpatient treatment and residential programs in nearby Connecticut. We also have residential locations throughout the country that may be a good fit for teens who can’t find high-quality adolescent inpatient mental health facilities in New York. Traveling for care to a residential treatment center out of state offers multiple benefits for teens with mental health disorders.
For one, research shows that changing your environment entirely can be significantly beneficial for teen mental health. Stepping out of an unhealthy environment minimizes exposure to old trauma and anxiety triggers, as well as access to alcohol and substances. Adolescent residential care also provides a therapeutic environment in which teens can learn and practice new, positive habits.
Moreover, out-of-state residential treatment centers for NYC teens expose them to brand-new experiences that boost their self-esteem and ability to navigate change and take healthy risks. For example, they might find themselves sledding, zip lining, and snowboarding at our Minnesota teen treatment location, or kayaking, surfing, and paddle boarding in one of our California programs.
In addition, the available teen mental health treatment centers in New York may not be the best fit for an individual’s specific diagnosis. Making the choice to travel for care means that you have access to a broad range of options, rather than just adolescent residential treatment centers in New York.
Teen Residential Treatment at Newport Academy
Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorder don’t typically go away on their own. And they can lead to suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and suicide attempts. Therefore, it’s critical for teens in New York to receive effective, evidence-based care. Newport Academy’s integrated, comprehensive approach is based in compassion and driven by data. We help teens build the resilience, coping skills, and self-awareness they need to grow into confident, thriving young adults.
Newport’s treatment programs serve teens in New York using a variety of clinical and experiential modalities, in addition to a robust academic component. Each teen’s individualized treatment plan is designed for their unique history and circumstances, as well as the societal challenges that all adolescents are currently facing. In addition to group therapy and individual therapy, our approach also uses Attachment-Based Family Therapy to restore trust and connection between teens and their parents.
Get Started Today
Our Admissions experts are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to work with families and referring professionals to find the right fit for teens, whether that’s the structure and support of an outpatient program or the healing environment provided by residential care. Contact us today at 866-520-0688 to get started on the path to healing.
J Family Med Prim Care. 2017 Oct-Dec; 6(4): 775–779.
J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2011 Apr; 39(3): 463–474.