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How To Support Youth Mental Health

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Youth and teens are facing a mental health crisis of epidemic proportions. In February 2023, the CDC published its “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” revealing that behaviors, like anxiety, suicide, and self-harm, were continuing to trend in the wrong direction, as we move beyond the pandemic.

Teens girls and LGBTQ+ are especially experiencing shocking rates of violence, negative self-image, and suicidal behaviors, including bullying and sexual violence. Nearly 3 in 5 U.S. teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, double that of boys. That’s a 60% increase and the highest level reported in over 10 years.

Urgent action is long past necessary. The CDC confirmed our knowledge that positive school environments and programs that focus on inclusiveness and foster connection improve these outcomes.

Parents and caring adults who know how to spot the outer signs of an inner struggle can prevent mental health challenges from escalating.

Resources for Youth 

  • For immediate support, dial or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, multiple languages are available.
  • Want to get support from a teen like you? Call 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) or text TEEN to 839863.

Resources for Adults 

  • Talking to Kids When They Need Help from the American Psychological Association (APA). Find tips on starting a conversation and understanding what’s going on in the lives of children and teens.
  • National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357), a 24/7/365 referral and information service for individuals and family members facing mental health challenges or substance abuse.

We must stay vigilant to ensure the health and safety of our children, particularly during this difficult time. Learn the warning signs of emotional distress and advocate for suicide prevention training in all middle and high schools.