The mental health of youth is important to families, to schools, and to the communities where they live. However, more youth are reporting poor mental health and the numbers continue to increase.
In 2021, more than 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently sad or hopeless and nearly one-third (29%) had poor mental health. In 2021, more than 1 in 5 (22%) students seriously considered attempting suicide and 1 in 10 (10%) attempted suicide. (According to CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011-2021)
Poor mental health in youth impacts their ability to make good decisions and to do well in school, and their overall health. It can lead to risky behaviors with drug use, sexual activity, and violent situations.
With the help of UNL Public Policy Center, Four Corners Health Department assessed the local youth mental health needs in the counties of Butler, Polk, Seward, and York. A variety of sources were used to get a picture of the mental health needs of our local youth, including a 2022 online survey and focus groups. The key topics include:
- Strengthen access to youth mental health services
- Continue access to services in the summer
- Identify needs for staffing and funding
- Reduce cultural mental health stigma
- Improve awareness of available services
To address these needs, organizations from throughout the four counties joined together beginning in July 2022 to form the Four Corners Youth Mental Health Steering Committee. Their vision is to prevent suicide and promote the mental health of our youth. To learn more about their work and to see the full report, visit Four Corners Health Department at this link: https://fourcorners.ne.gov/youth-mental-health/
One of the first priorities being addressed is to reduce mental health stigma. The group created a plan to share for working together on this issue. Please contact Four Corners or anyone on the steering committee to let them know if you want to be involved in the local work.
Parents, schools, and communities have been taking steps to benefit youth mental health. Everyone is needed in this work. We know that feeling connected to school and family supports good mental health. This can happen through building strong bonds and relationships with adults and friends at school, at home, and in the community.
Feeling connected can help protect young people from poor mental health, and other risks like drug use and violence. Youth need caring adults in their lives. We all have a role in being there for young people in our community. To learn more on this topic, visit: https://www.search-institute.org/our-research/development-assets/developmental-assets-framework/
Four Corners wants to hear from you. Call 877-337-3573, 402-362-2621, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org