Addressing the Alarming Rise of Girls Youth Mental Distress: Preventing Suicide and Bullying on Maui.
We are addressing the alarming rise of girls youth mental distress: Preventing Suicide and Bullying on Maui. In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, the mental health of our youth is of utmost importance. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed concerns about increases in sadness and exposure to violence among teenage girls and LGBQ+ youth. To tackle these issues head-on, Monica Marrow and Savannah Gankiewicz from What Makes You Feel Beautiful recently attended an all-day workshop on youth suicide and bullying prevention organized by Mental Health America of Hawaii. The workshop aimed to educate the participants about the prevention of suicide and bullying, while also providing valuable insights to be able to educate parents, teachers, mentors, and nonprofit organizations. Monica and Savannah are now certified trainers for Mental Health America of Hawaii in the realm of youth suicide and bullying prevention, they are obliged to conduct a minimum of three training workshops annually.
Disturbing Trends in Mental Distress:
The latest trend data from the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) collected in 2021 paints a worrisome picture of the mental health challenges faced by teen girls and LGBQ+ youth. These findings highlight the urgent need for proactive measures to support and protect our young population.
According to the YRBS data, teen girls are reporting the highest levels of sexual violence, sadness, and hopelessness ever recorded. Shockingly, almost one in five teen girls experienced sexual violence in the past year, signifying a significant increase compared to 2017. Furthermore, more than one in ten teen girls reported having been forced to have sex, marking the first rise in this measure since its monitoring began.
Depressive symptoms among teen girls have also witnessed a substantial surge, with three in five girls reporting persistent sadness and hopelessness in 2021, a significant increase from 2011. This alarming trend raises concerns about the overall mental well-being of adolescent girls and calls for immediate attention and support.
The combination of various factors puts young people at a heightened risk of suicide, depression, substance use disorder, poor academic performance, and other severe consequences. Shockingly, more than one in four girls seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021, representing a significant increase from a decade ago. Additionally, over one in ten girls reported attempted suicide in 2021, showing a similar upward trend. It is essential to note that alcohol use is also higher among girls than boys, emphasizing the need for comprehensive mental health support tailored to the specific challenges faced by teenage girls.
The YRBS data also shed light on the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ+) youth. This group is substantially more likely to experience violence victimization, suicide risk, and other severe outcomes compared to their heterosexual peers. Although the survey did not include questions about gender identity, previous research has shown that transgender young people face even greater levels of violence, stigma, and mental health problems.
In 2021, more than one in ten LGBQ+ students reported skipping school due to safety concerns, while nearly one in four experienced sexual violence, and bullying at school affected almost a quarter of the respondents. Disturbingly, nearly half of LGBQ+ students seriously contemplated suicide, almost a quarter attempted suicide, and three out of four reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Illicit drug use was also reported by one in five LGBQ+ students.
The Role of Self-Care and Self-Love:
In the midst of these alarming statistics, the importance of self-care and self-love cannot be underestimated. Recognizing this, What Makes You Feel Beautiful, a nonprofit organization, has developed an empowering program called F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself) to promote self-love and self-care among girls and women. By prioritizing self-care and participating in programs like F.L.Y., individuals can transform their lives and improve their mental health and overall well-being.
Addressing the Alarming Rise of Girls Youth Mental Distress: Preventing Suicide and Bullying on Maui. The rising levels of mental distress among teen girls and LGBQ+ youth demand immediate action. It is crucial for parents, educators, mentors, and nonprofit organizations to come together and prioritize mental health support and prevention programs. By fostering a culture of self-care, self-love, and open dialogue, we can create a brighter future for our youth, free from the shackles of bullying and suicidal ideation.
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