The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a report that states an increase in sadness and exposure to violence in LGBTQ+ youngsters and teenage girls. The US CDC conducted a survey titled Youth Risk Behavior Survey. This survey highlighted that girls and other youngsters identifying themselves as bisexual, transgender, or homosexuals are experiencing elevated amounts of mental health issues such as depression, violence, and substance abuse. These issues with teenagers can impact their development into an adult. Thus, the CDC has expressed a need for care programs and services to improve the situation of youngsters. The CDC said that schools in the US can have a major role in turning things around to make youngsters feel welcomed, despite their choice in life. It is much easier to run dedicated programs and services to enlighten the youth.
The CDC conducted the Youth Risk Behavior Survey during the fall season in 2021 when the world was battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has been conducting these studies since 1991, as a part of its Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System works in the US to gather health-related information from high schools across the country. As the largest health surveillance system in the US, YRBS serves as the ideal tool for the government and NGOs to understand and manage potential risks with the young population in the US.
This year’s YRBS report marked the first report since the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the data was estimated to show mental health issues and depression cases due to the forced lockdown and tense situation of the pandemic. This is evident in the YRBS report published by the CDC as the percentage of teenage girls reporting sexual violence and depression has increased significantly in the current YRBS report. The report stated that between 2017 and 2021, the number of teenage girls reporting sexual violence increased by almost 20%. Currently, this rate sits at one in every five teenage girls in the country. Similarly, the reported cases of forced sex in teenage girls went up by 27% from 2019 to 2021. This means that in 2021, one out of every ten girls in the US was forced into sexual intercourse. The surprising observation was that this is the first time that the number of cases of forced sex showed an increase. In terms of depression in teenage girls, three out of every five girls in the country felt sadness and hopelessness in 2021. These two parameters are considered the primary symptoms of depression, one of the most prevalent mental health disorders.
Hate cases towards LGBTQ+ youngsters also showed an increase in 2021. The YRBS report showed that people from the LGBTQ+ community expressed elevated levels of violence and mental health issues when compared to straight people. One in every four youngsters from the LGBTQ+ community experienced some form of violence in schools. In terms of mental health situations, YRBS showed that two in every four students thought of committing suicide while one in every four LGBTQ+ students committed suicide in 2021. Another surprising thing was the higher level of depression in LGBTQ+ students. The YRBS report showed that three in every four LGBTQ+ students experienced symptoms of depression.