Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services faces ongoing surge in mental health crises during pandemic


Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services faces ongoing surge in mental health crises during pandemicSHREWSBURY – The mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt widely and sharply by many across all walks of life, representatives of Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services recently noted. 

That has led to a record number of referrals at Youth and Family Services, which recently launched its annual fundraising appeal. 

“Over the last year or two I have repeatedly heard that mental health is the secondary pandemic,” Board Chair Carrick O’Brien said in a press release shared with the Community Advocate. “…While life has returned somewhat to normal, the impact of the last few years will be long-lasting.”

O’Brien detailed long waiting lists for adolescent care, in particular.

“Adolescent mental health has reached crisis level and we are at a tipping point,” she said. “Quite unfortunately, when youth need mental health help, they need it fast, and nothing in the mental health world is moving quickly.”

Youth and Family Services itself provides a variety of mental health and social services in Shrewsbury, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. 

Hardly alone in that mission, Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services is also not the only organization sounding the alarm about concerning mental health trends at the local, state and national levels. 

“The pandemic is this whole new thing that hasn’t happened in 100 years,” Westborough Youth and Family Services Director Cara Presley told the Community Advocate in September. “Most of us haven’t experienced a long-term chronic stressor to the extent that the pandemic is, and our brains are on overload.”

In Hudson, new Community Social Worker Alex O’Hare recently said she’s seen an increase in mental health crises. She specifically noted an uptick in hoarding cases.

“Usually, for people that do hoard, they do have some underlying mental health symptoms,” she said. “The overall, really current need is mental health services.”

Back in Shrewsbury, Executive Director Christine Mowry emphasized in that press release that Shrewsbury Youth and Family Service’s “most important pursuits are directly helped by unrestricted support from the community.”

As such, the non-profit continues its outreach and fundraising push.

Those interested in learning more and or donating can do so by visiting


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