WASHINGTON D.C. — Teens are struggling with more mental health challenges nationwide.
In 2021, 1767 teens died by suicide in the US and all of them under the age of 17.
This is one of the findings from a new national report about youth well-being released by Trust for America’s Health, a public health organization, on Wednesday.
It shows the youth suicide rate for teens increased by 71 percent between 2010 and 2021.
“Calling attention to what has been a long-standing mental health crisis,” said Dr. Nadine Gracia, President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health.
Dr. Gracia said LGBTQ youth are even more at risk.
“Not feeling that they’re having the support and approval and that’s in different settings like at home with their family or in their school if they feel they’re being bullied,” she said.
This same report also outlines recent federal data from the CDC about these trends.
It shows LGBTQ high school students were nearly four times as likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual teens in 2021.
“Some of the drivers could be feelings of not just hopelessness but hopelessness rooting in for example stigma they may experience, harassment, discrimination,” said Gracia.
The report also reveals that teens who were harassed because of their sexual orientation in school had higher rates of suicidal behaviors, as well.
But Dr. Gracia said there are things you can do at home to help your teens. She recommends talking with your child about how to navigate social media in healthy ways.
“Social media can be certainly a way in which young people can connect to peers and to families and to others, but it also can expose them to harassment, bullying and even harm their own self-esteem,” she said.
Doctors also want communities to continue strengthening intervention programs like the 988 crisis hotline.
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