Entertainment Movies Goldie Hawn Pens Op-Ed on the 'Trauma' Children Are Facing Due to COVID Pandemic: 'Kids Are Afraid' Goldie Hawn wrote an op-ed in which she urged for more preventative care measures and early interventions for children struggling with mental health By Alexia Fernández Published on January 26, 2022 06:45 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos Goldie Hawn. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Goldie Hawn is speaking up for the mental health of children across the nation. In an op-ed written by Hawn for USA Today, the actress is shedding a light on the effect the COVID-19 pandemic, the very real threat of illness and death, and lockdowns have had on children as well as the rising suicide rates. "Today, we are in the midst of a national trauma that could very well surpass 9/11 and approach the heightened terror of the Cold War years," Hawn wrote in the piece. "The COVID era has changed our children's lives in far more real, tangible ways – social distancing, school closures, daily mask use. "Kids are afraid of people, spaces, even the air around them – a level of constant fear not seen in decades. In early 2021, emergency room visits in the United States for suspected suicide attempts were 51 percent higher for adolescent girls and 4 percent higher for adolescent boys, compared with the same time period in early 2019," she continued. Goldie Hawn Opens Up About Her Childhood Anxiety, and How Meditation Helped Her Find Happiness Again Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. surgeon general and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Oscar winner said all three "agree that the state of our children's mental health is now at the level of a national emergency." "This tells us that as a nation, we have failed our children," Hawn wrote. "The few federal and state dollars that get directed to youth "mental health" invariably end up being earmarked for addiction and "crisis care," addressing only the most severe disorders. There are modest funds once a kid ends up in a hospital. But what about before?" RELATED VIDEO: Oliver Hudson Shows Off Mom Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's Aspen Home: 'Curtains Are 30 Years Old' She continued, "We are not properly funding preventive care and early interventions that normalize the mental struggles every individual has at some level. There are everyday tools for mental fitness, just as there are for exercise and healthy eating; we just don't teach them in any systematic way to our nation's children." Goldie Hawn Became 'Very Depressed' When Her Career Took Off at Age 21 Giving a measure of hope, Hawn added, "We will survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but I'm not sure we can survive an entire generation whose collective trauma sends them hobbling into adulthood. We need more research, more preventative care and more early intervention. And there's still time. If we get it right, today's kids could emerge as the strongest generation America has ever produced." In 2003, Hawn founded the non-profit program MindUp while on a break from acting that lasted 15 years. The organization provides curriculums for kids, parents and schools focusing on the mental health and fitness of children. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. "I had a big hunking dream, I mean, it was crazy," Hawn said in a recent interview with Willie Geist for Sunday Today. "I thought, 'I want to create something that children can access and teachers all over the world [can access] because we need to build a kinder world. A world that has actually greater capacity for critical thinking." As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org. If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.