PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sad, anxious and hopeless are just some of the feelings our young people say they're dealing with, and new data released Monday by the CDC shows teenage girls are worse off.
The jump on the graph released Monday by the CDC says it all. Nearly three in five teenage girls say they've felt persistently sad or hopeless. It's the highest level reported in the last decade and it's double the rate for boys.
"Girls are more emotional, as well as more relational," said Dr. Kathi Elliott, executive director of Gwen's Girls.
Elliott understands girls. She's a psychiatric nurse practitioner, runs Gwen's Girls and regularly partners with local schools to provide resources to build girls' self-esteem.
"Often times those that lack the resources," said Dr. Elliott. "Pittsburgh Public Schools, Penn Hills, Clairton, McKeesport, all the schools in the Mon Valley."
This new CDC report says teenage girls are experiencing record-high levels of violence, sadness and suicide risk. Dr. Albano from Columbia University says the data shows it didn't happen overnight.
"Pretty much since 2013 to 2014, there's been a steady increase in major depressive episodes, clinically significant depression with high impairment in functioning: not being able to function as a student, as a friend, take care of oneself within the family," said Dr. Anne Marie Albano, professor of medical psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University.
Dr. Albano highlights why experts think this is happening, saying teens are worrying about the environment, technology, school shootings, the future and bullying.
"And we know bullying and cyberbullying has been a huge contributor to mental health, especially in girls, plummeting like we saw on that chart," said Dr. Albano.
KDKA's Meghan Schiller asked Dr. Elliott, "What should parents look out for?"
"Any change in their normal routine, excessive sleeping, or not getting enough sleep, excessive eating or not eating enough," said Dr. Elliott.
She adds if you need help, start by dialing the new Caring Connections for Youth hotline by dialing 211 and selecting option three.
"We just created a new hotline called Caring Connections for Youth where parents, teachers, administrators and police can call in and get resources for their young people and that's a start," said Elliott.
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