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Mental health issues increase in Gen Z

By Winter Murray, 2022 Summer Intern

Mental health is a major problem. There are increased behavioral issues at schools, more people of all ages are turning to drugs and alcohol, overwhelming pressures exist in our society, and a growing number of people are unable to sustain employment due to mental health issues, impacting the work force.

“Mental health includes our emotional, physiological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood,” according to the CDC.

There are many factors why so many struggle with mental health.

“Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse, experiences related to other ongoing medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain, use of alcohol or drugs, having feelings of loneliness or isolation,” are some common reasons, according to the CDC.

Stress can also be a big factor. Students struggle with juggling everything in their day-to-day lives. Many students are taking college classes, playing multiple sports and trying to work a job, all while trying to keep a social life. The pressure that society puts on students includes thinking you need to have straight As, you need to play at least one sport, and you need to have a job to have the money to hang out with your friends. The truth is, you barely get a chance to hang out with your friends. The kids who are playing more than one sport hardly ever get a break; when one sport ends, another one begins. You may think, “What about the summer?” But even then the kids are in the gym or on the field multiple times a week, and then many of them are working right after that.

Det. Kenny Santee with the Licking Police Department stated that mental illness calls come in frequently; he has seen a vast age range, from kids 11-years of age to middle-aged people. Many of these calls come from a third party. All officers receive continuing education on de-escalation, mental health and crisis intervention on an annual basis. Currently one officer has had advanced specialized Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). Police Chaplain Paul Richardson has been very beneficial, assisting the LPD in cases of crisis.

If you are struggling don’t be afraid to find help from a family member or friend you can trust, online, in person or over the phone. You can also call the new nationwide mental health hotline at 988.

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