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We are living through an intersectional reckoning. The pandemic has exposed and, in many instances, exacerbated disparities in our healthcare system that have long been dormant, or outright ignored. This is especially true when it comes to mental health.

Black and brown bodies, communities and lives have been ravaged by the pandemic. The pandemic has been disorienting for all of us and disrupted our lives in ways we haven’t realized. And yet, after over a year and a half of devastation, loss and uncertainty, we are only just starting to acknowledge the mental health implications of this global pandemic.

We need to bring our communities together to provide support and empathy for the ongoing mental trauma experienced by our kids — especially Black and brown kids — over the last year and a half. I enter this conversation as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend and the CEO of DoSomething.org, the largest nonprofit exclusively for young people and social change.

As we approach the last few months of 2021, I can only imagine how young people are feeling right now: happy yet anxious, or excited yet confused, maybe even traumatized. So, what can we do? I spend many of my days at DoSomething listening to the concerns, wishes and passions of young people. They express concern about the mental health epidemic that seems to impact each of their friends, and they want to do something about it. To ensure the health and safety of young people, we must join them in doing what we can to support the mental health and wellness of young people.