Youth Mental Health: The Numbers

Key Takeaways

  • Youth in the U.S. are experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • The mental health crisis is affecting many teens, but some teens are affected more than others.
  • Schools can play an important role in helping reverse these trends.
Three teenagers African American and Asian High School friends watching smartphone together

The Data

Adolescent mental health in the U.S. was worsening prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our nation’s youth are experiencing a mental health crisis. CDC’s 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data offer an important snapshot of adolescent health and well-being related to mental health.

Depressive Symptoms

Attempted Suicide

Connection can help

Schools play an important role in promoting student mental health. Feeling connected to others at school is a powerful strategy to protect student’s mental health.

School connectedness is the belief that others at school care about you, your success and your well-being. When youth feel connected to their school, they are less likely to experience poor mental health.

Implementing mental health services and programs can support youth in school. CDC’s What Works in Schools program supports school districts in improving school connectedness by creating safer and more supportive environments that protect student mental health, while also supporting quality health education and connecting students to needed services.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline