“America’s teen girls are engulfed in a growing wave of sadness, violence, and trauma,” says the CDC.
It’s undeniable that the teenage years can be a tricky stage of life. In 2023, those struggles have gotten even more complicated, making it increasingly difficult for young people to find their way. Numbers don’t lie - this era of adolescence is proving to be more taxing than any prior.
A report released this month from the CDC revealed that 1 in 3 teen girls have seriously considered attempting suicide. This is an increase of nearly 60% in the past decade. This report, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which studies the challenges faced by U.S. high school students, also found that 1 in 5 girls have faced sexual violence and 1 in 10 have been forced to have sex.
The data collected by the CDC is an important part of understanding the issues that threaten the mental health of our country’s youth. “America’s teen girls are engulfed in a growing wave of sadness, violence, and trauma,” says the CDC.
So many things factor into the changing times for teen girls. An article that appeared in the Washington Post this month by Donna St. George, Katherine Reynolds Lewis, and Lindsey Bever highlights the difficulties caused by living in such a social media-fueled culture. The article also cites unrealistic beauty standards, teens feeling targeted by peers, financial difficulties, academic demands, and prevalent sexual pressure and violence that teen girls face as part of the increase in persistent sadness, depression, and feelings of hopelessness they face. An unfortunate aspect of all of this is how many girls will internalize the difficulties they face, usually blaming themselves.
It is essential that adults are both sensitive and attentive when a teenager conveys something serious that might lead to a mental health crisis. It is important to remember how much time students spend in school, so having teachers, administrators, and mentors that are trained to recognize signs of psychological distress among teens is essential—especially since more and more adolescents confess that they’ve contemplated suicide. Additionally, young people often feel that adults do not believe them when they eventually find the courage to speak up for themselves or someone else.
What teens need most in any situation that deals with mental health is the full knowledge that someone is truly in their corner.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit 988lifeline.org or call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.