A nationwide survey of teenagers in america has revealed a rise in fear and despair among them, with one in seven admitting into the misuse of prescription drugs. Since 2007, there was a rise in the amount of teens reporting feelings of dejection and despair. Suicidal tendency and absenteeism in school have gone up due to the fear of bullying and violence. The trend has been notable in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in high schools.
Countrywide, one out of five students reported confronting bullying at school, one in 10 females and one in 28 male students reported having been subjected to sexual activity. Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which conducted the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, stated that the life of an adolescent can be challenging. However, a huge number of students admitting to persistent feeling of despair and 17 percent contemplating suicide inform the sad state of affairs.
In 2007, 28 percent of teens reported to have suicidal feelings, which rose to 31 percent in 2017. Similarly, 14 percent of teens made suicide programs in 2017 according to 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 broad assortment of activities and attitudes.
There were some positive observations as well. Compared to a decade ago, fewer adolescents reported indulging in sex, consuming alcohol or taking drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. Since the question related to prescription opioid was asked for the first time, the researchers could not tell if the one in seven exhibited a rise or a decline.
The executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors and a social worker, David Harvey, stated that irrespective of the lack of a comparison, these figures suggest that opioids must be contributing to the lesser researched effect on the lives of adolescents. For example, opioid use could be leading towards the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in this age group.
Harvey pointed out that in 2007, at least 62 percent of adolescents reported having used condoms the last time they had a sex compared to 54 percent of teens in 2017. This decline along with the use of prescription drugs signals towards a teenager’s susceptibility to STDs such as HIV and Syphilis.
There was also a decline in the percentage of pupils encountering sexual dating violence from 10 percent in 2013 to 7 percent in 2017. This, together with a decline in the intake of alcohol and drugs, represented the wiser choices made by the pupils. 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 may also earn a lot of difference. Schools can contribute by providing coping abilities and bystander intervention training.
One of the LGBT adolescents, there was increased incidence of risky behavior as their sense of physical and emotional well-being is threatened. They also reported having missed school due to their concerns regarding their own safety.
Dealing with the double whammy
They’re at a juncture where they can fall prey to drugs readily which can have an impact on their mental health. To the contrary, they can resort to addictive substances to deal with their mental issues. Such a simultaneous occurrence of these problems is termed as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis, which requires immediate intervention.