July 7, 2022

The crisis of youth mental health in America

In a new documentary, more than 20 young people share their stories: how they faced addiction, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide yet still found hope.

Watch the trailer for “Hiding in Plain Sight” presented by Ken Burns. The film premiered on PBS on June 27, 2022.

A young Native American woman feels so isolated she contemplates suicide.

A 14-year-old boy is plagued by intrusive thoughts and withdraws into his own world.

A transgender teen experiences periods of profound joylessness and substance misuse.

There’s a growing mental health crisis among American children, teens, and young adults.

Most mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety, are treatable. But it’s hard for parents to know how to help, and where to find support.

A new PBS documentary presented by Ken Burns and supported by Kaiser Permanente, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness,” shines a clear — and sometimes stark — light on the daily lives of young people with mental health challenges.

From stigma and discrimination to resilience and hope

The film features first-person accounts from more than 20 people ranging in age from 11 to 27, as well as the parents, teachers, friends, and health care professionals in their lives.

Through the experiences of these young people, the film confronts the issues of stigma, discrimination, and bullying. The interviewees also express hope and show resilience as they talk about finding help and getting mental health and addiction care.

Hearing stories like these can help make it easier to open up and have conversations about mental health with the people you care about. You can watch the film for free through July 25, 2022, and then again during the entire month of September.

At Kaiser Permanente, we encourage parents and other caregivers to support, talk about, and advocate for kids’ mental health the same way they do for their physical health.

For tips on starting conversations, explore our Find Your Words website. There, you’ll also find the Presence of Mind interactive video series, which provides tools to help young people manage their mental health and support their friends when they need it most.

Learn more about youth mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente.