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CDC: 37% of US teens had poor mental health in pandemic

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that almost 4 out of 10 US adolescents are experiencing poor mental health, a trend exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.Thirty-seven percent of high school students reported poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless, according to the study in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).In addition, 55% reported experiencing emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in the home, according to a separate MMWR study based on the same survey.'Deeply troubling' findingsThe findings come from an anonymous survey of 7,700 teens at public and private high schools conducted between January and June of 2021."Many of the findings are deeply troubling, some with long-term consequences," said Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention today at a press conference.Twenty-nine percent of teens polled said a parent or adult in their home had lost employment during the pandemic, and 24% said they had gone hungry in the past year.

Roughly 60% of respondent said they had difficulty completing schoolwork.LGBTQ and non-White students reported worsening mental health during the pandemic, and girls were more likely than boys to report suicidal ideations."Our data exposes cracks," said Kathleen Ethier, PhD, the director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the CDC. "All students were impacted by the pandemic, but not all students were impacted equally."Mermin and Ethier both said the pandemic had worsened mental health trends already seen in US teens.

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