[OYAN] In the News: Oregon teens struggle with mental health more than ever, according to state survey

Katie Anderson katiea at wccls.org
Tue Jan 2 08:12:06 PST 2018

I thought many of you would be interested in this article.

Oregon teens struggle with mental health more than ever, according to state survey<http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2017/12/oregon_teens_struggle_with_men.html>
The Oregonian
Molly Harbarger, 12/30/2017

Some statistics from the article:

*         About a third of students said they felt so sad and hopeless, they had stopped doing normal activities.

*         Up to 18 percent said they had contemplated suicide.

*         Nearly 9 percent of eighth graders reported they had in fact attempted suicide in the last year and 7 percent of 11th graders did.

*         More than 40 percent of students in both grades surveyed did not meet the state's benchmark for coping ability.

While the survey didn't search out causes for why teenagers feel hopeless, sad or anxious, there is some research on it. Here is some research that the article points out might shed light on it:

*         They grew up in the aftermath of the Great Recession, which reshaped the economy into one of heavily low-wage and freelance jobs with a historically wide gap between the very rich and the poor. These children's parents spent a large portion of their lives in the fear-filled years after 9/11. The fallout from those events have imprinted themselves on children.

*         When parents are focused on where and when their children will eat or sleep, they have less capacity for their kids' emotional needs

*         the biological traits that make adolescence tough in any era -- lack of impulse control, heightened emotions, puberty -- are exacerbated by the speed of smartphone technology and the sense of isolation it can provide.

*         Social media opens the door for bullying, researchers say. It also closes adolescents off from crucial learning developments that can only be achieved through person-to-person interaction.

*         The tone of national politics has filtered down to make youth feel they must pick a side in everything -- politics, friendships, what they like and don't. "The polarization of information is so wide, and instead of being focused on the greater good, there's haves and have-nots and Republicans and Democrats -- and there's not a sense of what's best for all of us,"

Katie Anderson
Youth Services Librarian
katiea at wccls.org<mailto:katiea at wccls.org> |503-681-5098
wccls.org<http://www.wccls.org/>| Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/wccls/>|Twitter<https://twitter.com/wccls>


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