What Students Are Saying About the CDC Report on Teen Sadness
June 02, 2023
Teens are reflecting on recent national data that show they are struggling with their mental health. In response to an invitation from The New York Times, high school students shared that they were not surprised by the findings. Some said it was common for teens to talk openly about sadness and depression, and they were glad adults are now listening. According to some students, pandemic-related isolation made them feel hopeless and alone, but some said they have felt better since reconnecting with others in person. Feedback on the links between social media and mental health were mixed, with many teens feeling it leads to disconnection and low self-esteem and some saying it has helped normalize talking about mental health. In response to findings that some groups are struggling more than others, students said they see these disparities in their daily lives and believe they should be addressed. Some teens criticized the research for under-representing certain groups, such as trans and nonbinary people. To address these issues, students called for more open conversations about mental health, opportunities to connect offline, and supportive school environments. According to Madelyn Pelletier from Miami Country Day School, instead of talking about abstract ideals, take real action to support the unique needs of each student. “The solution to the mental health crisis cannot be ‘one-size-fits-all’ . . . I believe individualized concrete solutions and action plans are needed to create tangible change,” Pelletier said.
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