Mental Health Crisis Calls for New Resources

Madeline Nohrnberg, Managing Editor

  According to the Cambridge Youth Health Survey conducted in 2022, 63% of CRLS students report struggling with their mental health. Trends of a growing mental health crisis have begun to emerge in the past few years, and recent data reveals that youth are heavily impacted. A study conducted in 2021 by the CDC found that nearly 4 in 10 students felt persistently sad or hopeless. 

In light of this growing epidemic, Massachusetts has implemented a new mental and behavioral helpline for state residents. This hotline is available 24/7 through phone calls, texts, or online chat for anyone struggling with their mental health. Helpline staff are trained clinicians who can provide support in over 200 languages. 

Here at CRLS, the Behavioral Health Helpline (BHHL) has been promoted to the school community via StudentSquare notifications and the DYK newsletter. However, a survey conducted by the Register Forum with 123 CRLS student respondents found that nearly 80% were not aware of this resource.

Many believe that mental health resources should be made readily available.

Although the majority of students surveyed did not know about the BHHL, many feel that it could be effective for those seeking support. “Hotlines can be very helpful,” Kai Berelowitch ’25 told the Register Forum, “but we need more than just that.” And many agree. 50% of the 123 students surveyed believe that the school does not provide enough resources for mental health, while 8.2% were completely unaware of available resources.

 In the wake of tragedies like the fatal shooting of UMass Boston student Arif Sayed Faisal, many believe that mental health resources should be made readily available. Faisal was experiencing a mental health crisis when he was killed by Cambridge police. Donovan Boros ’23 described to the Register Forum, “a lot of people, especially South Asian people, felt that CRLS didn’t do enough to address the issue, especially in terms of holding space.” 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and students believe that CRLS should raise awareness about available support and increase education about mental health during this time.  “The school could give workshops, put posters around, and say: hey, if you need help, we can give you someone to talk to,” Morine Dupas ’25 told the Register Forum. In fact, a 2022 report from the Mayo Clinic found that bringing awareness to mental health disorders and their effects helps decrease overall suicide rates. 

Ultimately, the launch of this new helpline has left CRLS students feeling hopeful. Many believe these resources should be available to people everywhere, not just Massachusetts residents. Lucia Mindell ’26 tells the Register Forum, “mental health is so important. Everybody deserves to have the resources they need.” 

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, call 833-773-2445 (BHHL) or 988 (SAMHSA)