A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has revealed that young people across the nation are now struggling more than ever, with teenage girls and LGBQ+ youths in particular experiencing increasingly urgent mental health challenges.
It was found that 57 per cent of teenage girls reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, double the rate of their male counterparts… and representing a near-60 per cent increase over the last ten years, as well as being the highest level ever reported.
Some 30 per cent of girls had considered attempting suicide in 2021, while 18 per cent had experienced sexual violence in the last year, a rise of 20 per cent since 2017. Furthermore, 14 per cent had ever been forced to have sex, up 27 per cent since 2019.
For LGBTQ+ students, some 52 per cent had experienced poor mental health, with 22 per cent attempting suicide in the last 12 months. Furthermore, the report also indicated high and worsening levels of hopelessness or persistent sadness across all racial and ethnic groups, with increases seen in reproted suicide attempts among both black and white youth.
Commenting on the findings, Debra Houry – chief medical officer with the CDC – said: “High school should be a time for trailblazing, not trauma. These data show our kids need far more support to cope, hope and thrive. Proven school prevention programmes can offer teens a vital lifeline in these growing waves of trauma.”
In the UK, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 19, with evidence suggesting that the pandemic was instrumental in driving an increase in suicidal thoughts and self-harm, two significant risk factors for suicide.
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