A nationwide survey of teenagers in america has revealed a growth in fear and despair among them, with one in seven admitting into the abuse of prescription drugs. Since 2007, there was a rise in the number of teenagers reporting feelings of dejection and despair. Suicidal tendency and absenteeism in school have gone up due to the fear of violence and alcoholism. The trend has been noteworthy in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in high schools.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which conducted the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, said that the life of a teenager can be challenging. However, a massive number of students admitting to persistent feeling of despair and 17 percent contemplating suicide tell the sad state of affairs.
In 2007, 28 percent of teenagers reported to have suicidal feelings, which climbed to 31 percent in 2017. Similarly, 14 percent of teenagers made suicide plans in 2017 as against 11 percent in 2007. The poll, conducted every two decades, involved 15,000 high school students across 39 states. It asks questions pertaining to a wide assortment of attitudes and activities.
There were some positive observations as well. In contrast to a decade ago, fewer adolescents reported indulging in sex, consuming alcohol or taking drugs such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Since the question associated with prescription opioid was asked for the first time, the investigators could not tell if the one in seven exhibited an increase or a decline.
The executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors and a social worker, David Harvey, stated that irrespective of the absence of a comparison, these figures indicate that opioids must be contributing to the lesser explored impact on the lives of adolescents.
Harvey pointed out that in 2007, at least 62 percent of teens reported having used condoms the last time they had an intercourse compared to 54 percent of teens in 2017. This decline along with the use of prescription medication signals towards a teen’s susceptibility to STDs like HIV and Syphilis.
There was also a decrease in the percentage of students encountering sexual dating violence from 10 percent in 2013 to 7 percent in 2017. This, along with a decrease in the intake of alcohol and drugs, represented the wiser decisions made by the students. The experts suggested that family support, especially the parental attention can make plenty of difference in an adolescent’s life. Further, an increased access to mental health and substance abuse resources can also earn plenty of difference. Schools can contribute by providing coping abilities and bystander intervention training.
Among the LGBT teens, there was increased incidence of risky behaviour as their awareness of physical and psychological well-being is threatened. They also reported having missed school because of their concerns regarding their own security.
Dealing with the double whammy
Teens are impressionable. They are at a juncture where they can fall prey to drugs easily which can have an impact on their mental health. To the contrary, they can resort to addictive substances to deal with their mental problems.