Depression, suicidal thoughts common among high school students during an epidemic – US study

Students board a school bus outside Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington County, which is one of several school districts that have demanded the arrest of the optional mask mask by Governor Glenn Youngkin (R), Arlington, Virginia, USA, Jan. 25, 2022 Reuters Evelyn Hoxstein

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March 31 (Reuters) – More than a third of high school students surveyed in the United States experienced stress, anxiety or depression, and nearly a fifth said they were seriously considering suicide during the COVID-19 epidemic, U.S. researchers reported Thursday.

The first national survey of its kind found that 44% of students reported feeling sad or hopeless every day for two consecutive weeks or more during the previous year, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“However, the findings we have presented highlight complex issues, and children, parents and schools cannot address them alone. The impact of COVID-19 will be felt for many years with devastating consequences,” CDC senior Jonathan Marmin told reporters at a news briefing.

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The online survey of 7,705 9th-12th grade students across the country was conducted during January to June 2021 and asked, “How often has your mental health not been good?”

The survey found that the prevalence of poor mental health and suicide was high among students from all sexual identities, races and ethnic groups, but was more common among students identified as women than men.

Suicidal thoughts or attempts and poor mental health were also more common among LGBT students than among heterosexual teens, according to a survey published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study confirms the concerns raised by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Association of Pediatric Hospitals, which in October 2021 jointly declared a national emergency in the mental health of children and adolescents, noting that the pressures exacerbated problems. Existence before the health crisis.

When schools closed during an epidemic, teens were exposed to a variety of pressures, including parental abuse and isolation.

More than half of the students surveyed said they had experienced emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in the home, with 11% reporting physical abuse. Nearly 30% reported that a parent or other adult in their home had lost a job and 24% said they were hungry because there was not enough food.

The study also found that perceived racism was highest among Asian students during the epidemic with 64%, followed by black and multiracial students at about 55%.

Researchers noted an increase in racism during the epidemic, which began in China, especially against Asian communities.

To address these mental health issues, the researchers recommended improving students’ relationships with other students as well as with staff, noting that school districts should consider all-school programs, such as those that focus on social and emotional learning.

Because the survey was the first of its kind, trends could not be compared to those seen in other pre-epidemic studies, the researchers noted.

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A report by Leroy Leo in Bangalore and Julie Steinhausen in Chicago; Edited by Caroline Homer and Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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