“If you are a young person living in Detroit, you are far more likely to know someone who has been sick, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who has died,” said Dr. Elizabeth Koschmann, a research investigator with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Koschmann directs a program at U-M that trains school professionals in evidence-based mental health therapy and self-guided mental health practices for students.
“That creates both a traumatic experience for these people, a sense of grief but also an ever-present sense of fear.”
More than half of Detroit children ages 12 to 17 live in poverty. That makes it more likely they are exposed to adverse childhood experiences tied to poor physical and mental health outcomes like depression and substance abuse.
“There was already a massive lack of equity between Detroit and other parts of the state of Michigan,” Koschmann said. “I think the virus is shining a light on a problem that has been there for a long, long time. There is tremendous mental health risk for the teen and young adult population in Detroit.”