Letter to the Editor

The Youth Mental Health Crisis

Dear Editor,

As the Chair of Public Health and Mental Health, the first Order I filed as a City Councilor was to address the youth mental health crisis in our City. As a Boston Public School teacher for over 20 years, and a mom for 33 years, I know first hand that the mental health challenges that our children were facing before the pandemic were of great concern. The pandemic has only intensified these concerns as it continues to take an alarming toll on our children’s mental health.

Our families, caregivers, schools, community centers, faith based organizations, health centers, and hospitals are caring for our young children with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness and suicidal ideations that will have lasting negative impacts on them, their families and their communities. I will strive to move swiftly towards ensuring that every child has access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally competent mental health care.

Now, more than ever, with the rise of violence in our schools, our Boston Public Schools need a robust, equitable, and strong athletic program for our students. The physical benefits are just the beginning. Students participating in school teams are far more likely to have improved grades, report healthier social behavior, and reach higher academic and professional success after high school. Our students have the will, the talent, and the RIGHT to all the incredible, life-long benefits that school sports offer.

I will also continue to advocate for ALL our students to have access to quality before and after school programing. Effective afterschool programs provide nurturing learning settings that bring a wide range of benefits to our children, families, and communities. When done right, they provide social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe and supportive environment for children and youth.

Erin Murphy, Boston
City Councilor-at-Large

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