Feelings of depression and hopelessness are increasing among Washington State’s teenagers, according to results from the Healthy Youth Survey.
Thirty five percent of 10th graders and 34 percent of 12th graders, the survey found, said they experienced these feelings in the past year. These figures are up slightly from 2012.
Mental health officials say they don't know why this is happening.
Additionally, 10 percent of 10th graders said they attempted suicide is the last year, up from eight percent a few years earlier. Vicki Wagner, the director of the Youth Suicide Prevention Project said most teen suicide attempts happen in the spring and the fall.
Wagner said parents and peers need to act if they notice someone becoming withdrawn.
“Somebody who has been outgoing, who has had a lot of friends, if they start isolating, if they start giving way things, that’s really symptomatic in adolescence," she said. "There’s an awful lot of suicide attempts that can follow a break-up in adolescence, you know, a significant person they were involved with.”
Last year, the Youth Suicide Prevention Project trained more than seven-thousand parents, teachers and students across the state. The trainings focus on the importance of speaking up when someone becomes aware of a teen who might be thinking of taking his or her own life.
Mental health officials say it’s vital for teens to have at least one caring adult in their lives.
About fifteen percent of 10th graders who took the Healthy Youth Survey last year said they have no adult to turn to if they feel sad or hopeless. The survey is given every year and is a collaboration between several state agencies.