CDC: Teen Girls 'Engulfed in Violence and Trauma'
Spread the word and help teen girls in crisis.
What's the story?
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that teen girls are “engulfed in violence and trauma” amidst growing rates of sexual assault, mental health crises, and suicidal ideation.
- After conducting a Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 2011 to 2021, the CDC revealed that the rates of sexual violence and depression are alarming, even though several areas of adolescent health are improving, including risky sexual behavior, alcohol use, and substance use.
A rise in sexual violence
- In 2021, almost 15% of high school girls who participated in the survey reported being forced to have sex, up 2% from 2011 — the first increase since the CDC began tracking this measure. Around 18% of girls reported experiencing some form of sexual violence.
- Director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, Kathleen Ethier, said:
“If you think about every 10 teen girls that you know, at least one and possibly more has been raped, and that is the highest level we’ve ever seen.”
- Ethier said that the rise in sexual violence and depression are most likely linked.
A rise in hopelessness and suicidal ideation
- The report mentions record-high rates of hopelessness among teenage girls. The CDC found that 57% of American girls felt persistently sad and hopeless in 2021, double the rate reported by boys.
- In 2021, nearly one in three girls reported seriously considering committing suicide, a 60% increase from a decade ago.
- More than 40% of respondents said their sadness and hopelessness prevented them from engaging in their regular activities for more than two weeks of the year.
- Debra Houry, the CDC's chief medical officer and deputy director for program and science, said:
"America's teen girls are engulfed in a growing wave of sadness, violence, and trauma."
What about social media?
- Ethier said that “social media certainly contributes” to the worsening mental health of teen girls.
- In 2021, 16% of high school students were bullied online, with female students more likely to be attacked by male students. For LGBTQ+ students, 27% reported being bullied online.
- With concern for these numbers, Ethier said:
“These data are clear: our young people are in crisis."
Crisis hotlines for teens
- The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has help and support available 24/7. The hotline can be reached by calling #988 or instant messaging them for immediate support with mental health, sexual assault, and bullying.
- Find a Helpline is a comprehensive resource for support with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
- Teen Central has a wealth of resources and hotlines available 24/7.
- Crisis Text Line has a sexual abuse hotline and a rape crisis line.
Spread the word and help teens in crisis.
(Photo credit: iStock/Georgijevic)
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This is very troubling, and I hope the CDC and other health researchers will find ways to improve the situation for teen girls.
Now would be a great time for political leaders to fully fund and support mental health care for all Americans, and to better scrutinize the effects of social media on mental health.
Given the racism, Bigotry and Misogyny now running rampant in this country, I am very glad I am not a female and can totally understand why they feel the way they do.
They do not even have control over their own bodies anymore, due to the Fascist GOP.
I think I would also be having suicidal idealology if I were them.
We are regressing as a society.
Teen mental health in teen bullying must end and middle school is where the problem seem to be the most. I think middle school kids are the worst, because they are trying to proof or be something. Sometimes the transition is tough and brutal.