LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — New data from the CDC reported that teens are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Around 42% of high schoolers have reported persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Additionally, thoughts of suicide are rising, with 24% of girls saying they have made a plan to end their lives.
The pandemic did not help rates of anxiety and depression across the country.
“So often when people talk about mental health, they seem to suggest that you’re mentally healthy if you feel good or calm or relaxed. But that’s not our view in psychology,” said author and psychologist Lisa Damour. “For us, mental health is two things. It’s having feelings that make sense in their context, even if those feelings are painful. And then managing those feelings well. So if a kid gets dumped and his heart is broken, we expect to see sadness. We ache for him, but we don’t see that as a grounds for concern.”
Teen moods will go up and down, but the concern lies in teens who are angry and sad all the time.
Those emotions can cause teens to turn to things like alcohol, drugs, or being a bully.
“We don’t want to see their mood go to a concerning place and stay there. We also don’t want teenagers’ moods to get in the way of their lives,” continued Damour. “It shouldn’t disrupt their ability to see their friends and go to school. And the last thing we want to watch out for is what we call costly coping. This is where kids manage in ways that have a cost associated so they’re using substances or they’re tearing at the fabric [of] relationships or they’re harming themselves.”
Psychologists said the most powerful force for mental health in adolescence is having strong relationships with caring adults.
So parents, try to make yourselves available on your teen’s terms.