Mental health is something everyone should care about. Most families have at least one relative or immediate family member who struggles. But unlike physical illnesses, accessing help for mental health isn’t always as urgent or available.
When it comes to mental health disorders in children and teens, they impact them in very serious ways during the most impressionable years of their life. They can affect the way they learn, behave, react and interact with peers and family members. It’s our job to teach them that these big feelings are OK and there’s help out there.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of children are diagnosed every year with mental health disorders. The most common being ADHD, anxiety, depression and behavior disorders.
9.4% have been diagnosed with ADHD (ages 2-17)
7.4% have been diagnosed with a behavior problem (ages 3-17)
7.1% have diagnosed anxiety (ages 3-17)
3.2% have diagnosed depression (ages 3-17)
Many children and teens have multiple conditions. And without help, they can worsen over time. Especially anxiety and depression.
Mental Health America looks at this problem individually in each state. The group looks at the prevalence of mental illness among youth and their access to care. The states are then ranked, with 50 being the state with the highest prevalence of mental illness and the least amount of access to care.
For 2021, Alaska ranks number 40. The stats also revealed that more than 15% of Alaska teens, ages 12-17, suffered at least one major depressive episode in the past year. And Alaska ranks 38 with youth with a substance abuse disorder, with 4% (suffering).
It’s important to be aware of the thousands of Alaskan kids who face mental health struggles. Only when we’re aware of the problem, can we come together to fix it. At JYS, we’re committed to helping these kids live their best lives. And that starts with removing the stigma around mental health issues.
Please join us in supporting Alaska youth with our #BigFeelingsAreOK social media campaign. Change your Facebook profile picture using the #BigFeelingsAreOK frame and share the graphics above. It’s OK to talk about what’s going on. It’s OK to have big feelings. Our goal is to create a conversation about the prevalence and support available for mental health.