Michigan Association of Health Plans

Connection is key to reversing grim youth mental health statistics

This story appeared in Fox 17. Read more here

It’s not uncommon for Kierra Ehnes to spend her weekends at her high school.

After so much disruption thrown her way during the pandemic, being in the building is far better than the months of isolation she and her peers endured.

“Our suicide rate went up in small-town communities,” said the high school junior. “And that is something that I had never heard of before the pandemic happened.”

Kierra’s school, in rural Colorado, is small. There are just 100 students combined, between middle and high school.

As her area returns to “normal,” Kierra said there are still emotional scars.

“It’s that lingering effect of like, ‘When is it going to happen again?’ Like, ‘When are we going to be told that it can no longer be this way,'” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report that shows how high school students s have been impacted by the pandemic.

Out of the nearly 8,000 high school students surveyed, 1 in 3 said they had poor mental health during the pandemic, and more than half said they felt hopeless.

What was going on at home was eye-opening as well. Twelve percent of the students reported physical abuse at home while 55% reported emotional abuse.

To remedy the reverberating effects of isolation, staying connected is key. The same study found that teens who felt connected to others in school had better mental health.

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