Oregon Live Series on Youth Mental Health in Oregon

The series, obviously, focuses on situations in Oregon, but I believe there are a lot of similar stories playing out around the country, so this whole series really gives us a lot to consider, and talk about.

For example, one of the articles talked a lot about the stress of living as a young person today and constantly being worried about climate change, or mass shootings, and feeling like the entire world has no future. I, personally, believe this is because we have lost the plot when it comes to truly understanding what is involved. We know that online, and increasingly in mass media as well, the scarier the headline, the more attention you’ll get. So while both of those things are things we should all be concerned about, kids are growing up believing it is just a matter of time before their school gets shot up, or the world simply ends. Neither one of those things is likely to happen statistically though. In fact, kids today are less likely to be victims of gun violence, since the rates of it have been going down, for example. But that doesn’t get people to click, so that’s not what we will see all over the internet. Neither does anything less than breathless takes on the worst possible results of climate change, as opposed to the more likely effects and what we can do about them. (Which, again, are not good and this is an issue we should be paying attention to, but we have to get past scaring the hell out of people to get them to agree with us and have deep, factual, discussions.)

Given how sensationalized these issues have become though I can clearly see why teens would see an impact on their mental health. I think we need to do better, and talk about issues in clear, calm, factual ways, but I’m afraid our media and political marketplace is no longer built for that, and it’s hurting people more than informing us.

Anyway, the links are below. As I mentioned, there is a lot to think about:

Day One: In Oregon, academic pressures, existential fears help explain rising rates of suicide, other mental health conditions

Also: Tips for attaining or maintaining mental wellness, from teens who practice them

Day Two: Child or teen needs mental health treatment? In Portland area, they face agonizing waits

A beloved child with big needs faces daunting shortage of available help

One family’s wellness story: Ask the question

Finally, a school that helps and heals

Day Three: Minneapolis schools lead the way on youth mental wellness

Also: When care matches culture, immigrants and people of color benefit

Oregon will spend big to promote youth mental health at school

Bright spot: High schools that offer free mental health care

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