Report uncovers trends in TN youth mental health crisis
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
More young people in Tennessee are experiencing poor mental health and symptoms of depression, and suicide attempts have been trending upward.
According to the latest report by The Sycamore Institute, in 2021, nearly one in four Tennessee high schoolers had considered suicide.
Brian Straessle, executive director of the institute, said the report revealed many young Tennesseans are having mental health challenges in some form and more must be done to help them.
"Some of the most recent data from 2021, I think it was about 30% of high school students said that they had experienced some days with poor mental health over the past month," Straessle reported. "And 40% said that they had experienced some symptoms of depression over the prior year."
Straessle explained the report is the first of three to be published over the next year, all with a Tennessee focus. The next will cover existing resources and services, and the third will highlight potential policy solutions.
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or the Crisis Text Line, by texting the word "HELLO" to 741741.
According to Straessle, the report showed a gender disparity, with high school girls in particular reporting higher instances of poor mental health and symptoms of depression, compared to boys. However, he said the data show boys are more likely to act on their feelings.
"When you're looking at suicides and suicide attempts or considering having suicidal thoughts, and then also death by suicide, it was much more frequent among young men," Straessle explained.
The Institute holds a virtual briefing today with a panel discussion about the latest research, prevention and resources for mental health concerns in young people.
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