According to a 10-year survey, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of teenage girls who experience persistent feelings of hopelessness or sadness has been rapidly increased in the past decade.
From 2011 to 2021, almost all indicators of poor mental health and suicidal ideation increased, with female and LGBTQ+ students experiencing higher rates. 42% of high school students in 2021 said that they stopped doing their normal daily activities because they were so depressed or hopeless for at least two weeks.
The percentage of students who were injured during a suicide attempt did not rise, despite an increase in students who reported seriously considering suicide, making suicide plans, and attempting suicide.
The findings come as advocates, officials, legislators, and experts in public health have issued warnings about the growing mental health crisis facing youth. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended screening children and adolescents for depression and anxiety, and advocates have urged the administration to declare youth mental health an emergency.
According to Kathleen Ethier, Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the US CDC, young people are experiencing a level of distress that calls for us to act with urgency and compassion. The schools have the unique capacity to assist our youth in flourishing when the appropriate services and programs are in place.
57% of teenage girls in 2021, compared to 36% in 2011, said they felt hopeless or persistently sad. In 2021, 29% of teenage boys reported these feelings, compared to 21% in 2011. In 2021, 24% of female students had a “suicide plan” and 30% had “seriously considered” suicide.
Instead of experiencing trauma, high school ought to be a time of pioneering. Debra Houry, CDC chief medical officer and deputy director for Program and Science, stated that these data demonstrate that their children require significantly more support to cope, hope, and thrive. Debra Houry went on to say that tried-and-true school prevention programs can be a lifeline for teens in these growing waves of trauma.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts that schools can implement evidence-based strategies to improve youth mental health, such as teaching students about emotions and sexual consent and having teachers and mentors help students feel connected to their community.