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Teens perceive widespread depression, anxiety

National survey reveals concerns about mental health

Though society has fought a long fight in the matter of mental stress, there still remains an alarming number of teens who feel depressed, who feel they have anxiety, or just overall, have concerns about mental health.

What researchers deduced from recent phone conversations and online questioning with teenagers, however, was quite shocking — a total of 96 percent of teens said they perceive anxiety and depression is a major or minor problem in society, according to the Pew Research Center study.

Teenagers’ attitudes may be shaped by factors such as gender, income and where they live, so the national results do not necessarily match what Minnehaha students would think.

“Teenagers diverged most drastically across income lines on the issue of teenage pregnancy,” wrote Karen Zraick in the news article “The Major Issue of Mental Health,” published Feb. 20 in The New York Times. “Fifty-five percent of teenagers in lower-income households said it was a major problem among their peers. Just 22 percent of teenagers in wealthier households agreed.”

In the study, 920 teenagers aged 13 to 17 were polled by the Pew Research Center. Of those, 90 percent said that they perceive bullying as a problem, as well as 86 percent who stated the same thing for drug addiction.

“That’s a really high number of teenagers who feel this is a major problem,” Minnehaha Counselor Christine Paton stated. Paton also noted that the teens had perceived this in others, not just in themselves.

“Only 20 to 30 percent of kids who are struggling with depression and anxiety are getting help,” Paton said. “If you need help because you’re struggling with any of these mental health issues … reach out and get the help that you need.”

Minnehaha students can meet privately with counselors Paton or Kristin Overton, nurse Heidi Streed, their advisory group leader, or any other trusted teacher, coach or staff member if they would like to discuss mental health issues.

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