About that Surgeon General's Advisory...
On December 7, 2021, the US Surgeon General sent a first-ever advisory about the crisis in youth mental health. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, youth have suffered due to learning loss, decreased opportunities for developmentally appropriate social interaction, and, for some, family losses to COVID-19. With at-risk youth living in difficult circumstances, the delivery of academic, mental, and behavioral health support is an even greater need during pandemic times. 
The numbers don’t lie. Since the pandemic began, rates of psychological distress among youth have shown that emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher for adolescent girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys. Depressive and anxiety symptoms more than doubled for this cohort. And the rates of middle-school adolescents with depression and suicidal ideation or attempts rose significantly during the pandemic. Among youth who have multiple traumas, and developmental and learning issues, the rates of distress are even higher. The journal Pediatrics has reported that BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ youth have also presented with much higher need and risk as they have often also experienced increased discrimination and a lack of safe spaces. 
While the Surgeon General’s advisory was unique, the mental health impact of COVID-19 on at-risk youth was already something Side by Side knew. In 2021 and into 2022, we saw more youth with increased rates of serious mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, suicidality, and many high-risk behaviors. Our teachers and counselors have provided needed emergency academic and emotional support to our clients and their families. We have seen what has been called the twin pandemic of youth mental health need, and we continue to respond to its call.  
All our programs have been fully operational throughout the pandemic. We have responded to the increased need for services within the LGBTQIA+ youth community by throwing open virtual peer support groups to any youth in Alameda County. Our YouThrive and North Bay Community Counseling programs continue to support our BIPOC communities through individual and group work. TAY Space and Real Alternatives continue to address the critical needs of foster and homeless youth who may not have a place to call home because of family strife, deaths, or families’ inability to accept them due to their identities, among a variety of other issues. The Hunt School has worked diligently to provide in-person learning and support throughout the pandemic. 

We are proud to be in alignment with the call to action by the Surgeon General. We are prouder that we were already doing so even before the pandemic, to ensure that we provide this basic human right that we believe all should have. 
Support Side by Side's Counseling and Early Intervention Programs in Sonoma County

Thursday, May 19, 2022 from 6-8pm
Griffo Distillery, 1320 Scott Street, Ste A, Petaluma