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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

This school season, know warning signs of youth mental distress

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023   

Data from last year show a growing percentage of Kentucky children and teens report struggling with depression or anxiety, largely driven by social media use. A new online toolkit from Mental Health America aims to provide information, tips and resources for young people, caregivers and school personnel on how to protect kids' mental health in a digital world.

Marcie Timmerman, Mental Health America Kentucky's executive director, said having resources to spot early warning signs can help families get off to a good start this school year, when many households are adjusting to new patterns and habits.

"I think one of the biggest early warning signs, especially related to social media use, is that they suddenly stop wanting to use it, or they are on it all the time," she explained. "There's an extreme change in their behavior and maybe their attitude as well toward the media platform."

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends screening for anxiety in children and adolescents ages 8 to 18 years, even if they are not showing recognized signs or symptoms of anxiety. Over the past decade, feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness, along with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, increased by about 40% among young people, according to the CDC.

Hannah Hallen, a Kentucky college student and mental-health advocate, believes traditional approaches to mental health have not kept up with the needs of her generation.

"I feel like they are trying their best with potentially old resources or things that used to work," she said. "But with the changes in this generation that are so niche to this era, there are a lot of differences."

In addition to social media, more young people report feeling distressed about mass shootings, climate change, and the growing political divide.


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