02 Mar World Teen Mental Wellness Day
By Julio Esperias, Manager of Communications
March 2nd is recognized as World Teen Mental Wellness Day, a day focused on raising awareness about the mental health issues teenagers deal with. Many teenagers struggle with their mental health, and as such, it is important that we increase awareness, and stop the stigma.
One thing was made crystal clear over the last three years, the pandemic made things worse—much worse. Teens’ mental health was already failing before the arrival of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released their Youth Risk Behaviors Survey for 2021, which provided insight into the health behavior and experiences of high school students across the country.
TEEN MENTAL HEALTH BY THE NUMBERS
- 60% of female students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness (CDC)
- Nearly 25% made a suicide plan (CDC)
- Close to 70% of LGBQ+ students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness (CDC)
Source: Youth Risk Behavior Survey (CDC)
In addition, over a third (36%) of students said they experienced racism before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. The highest levels were reported among Asian students (64%) and Black students and students of multiple races (both 55%). Experiences of racism among youth have been linked to poor mental health, academic performance, and lifelong health risk behaviors. The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment underscores that more than a quarter of teens in L.A. County reported experiencing anxiety or depression as a direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Los Angeles youth have been particularly impacted as losses from COVID and disruptions in routines and relationships have led to increased social isolation, anxiety, and learning loss. Black and Brown teens face a variety of challenges that can impact their mental health, from the stress factors of school and social pressures to the isolation caused by the pandemic, including housing instability.
Social media is also playing an important factor in mental health. The more time spent on social media, the more likely a person will experience mental health symptoms like anxiety, isolation, and hopelessness. And according to data, high levels of social media usage has been associated with increased depression among youths.
As we support World Teen Mental Wellness Day, we encourage you to:
- Spread awareness so that both teenagers and parents/guardians are more informed about mental health
- Help end the stigma that makes teens feel reluctant to get the help they need
- Remind teens that they are not alone, that mental health struggles are common and support is available
If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:
- Call 911
- Go to the nearest emergency room
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988