The number of adolescents reporting poor mental health is increasing.
Building strong bonds and connecting to youth can protect their mental health.
Schools and parents can create protective relationships with students and help them grow into healthy adulthood.
In 2021, more than 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently sad or hopeless and nearly one-third (29%) experienced poor mental health.
In 2021, more than 1 in 5 (22%) students seriously considered attempting suicide and 1 in 10 (10%) attempted suicide.
These data bring into focus the level of distress many students are experiencing.
These feelings were found to be more common among LGBQ+ students, female students, and students across racial and ethnic groups.
Nearly half (45%) of LGBQ+ students in 2021 seriously considered attempting suicide—far more than heterosexual students.
Black students were more likely to attempt suicide than students of other races and ethnicities.
Poor mental health in adolescence is more than feeling blue. It can impact many areas of a teen’s life. Youth with poor mental health may struggle with school and grades, decision making, and their health.
Mental health problems in youth often go hand-in-hand with other health and behavioral risks like increased risk of drug use, experiencing violence, and higher risk sexual behaviors that can lead to HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy.
Because many health behaviors and habits are established in adolescence that will carry over into adult years, it is very important to help youth develop good mental health.
The good news is that teens are resilient, and we know what works to support their mental health: feeling connected to school and family.
Fortunately, the same prevention strategies that promote mental health—like helping students feel connected to school/family—help prevent a range of negative experiences, like drug use and violence.
Building strong bonds and relationships with adults and friends at school, at home and in the community provides youth with a sense of connectedness.
This feeling of connectedness is important and can protect adolescents from poor mental health, and other risks like drug use and violence.
Youth need to know someone cares about them. Connections can be made virtually or in person.
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