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A new National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Teen Poll, conducted by Ipsos, found that teens who are struggling with their mental health are looking to their schools and parents for information and support.
“While the pandemic has taken a toll on our young people’s mental health, which was already showing troubling signs, this poll of young people shows that adults and schools have the opportunity — and an obligation — to help,” said Daniel H. Gillison Jr., CEO of NAMI.
According to the poll, about 1 in 4 teens have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, and 64% feel the world is more stressful now than when their parents were their age. While teens are comfortable talking about mental health, they often don’t start the conversation. Almost all the teen respondents (95%) who seek mental health information from their parents or guardians trust them, but initiating these conversations is still a hurdle that teens need help overcoming: Only about half (48%) say they talk to their parents or guardians regularly about their mental health.
Parents can help by normalizing mental health conversations early on and by acknowledging their own emotions and coping strategies. To help parents, NAMI offers NAMI Basics, a no-cost educational course for parents of children with mental health conditions and is available both in-person and on demand.
The poll also found that teens are looking to schools to play a role in mental health, and they trust the information they get there. Seven in 10 teens agree that schools should teach about what mental health is, and 68% want their school to share information about treatments. Teens also think that schools should offer mental health days (67%). A dozen states have already passed laws providing these days, a policy NAMI supports.
Additionally, about 4 in 5 teens who seek mental health information from their teachers say they trust those adults, which provides a large opportunity for schools. NAMI Ending the Silence is a presentation program for middle- and high-school youth that provides essential information about mental health, as well as a personal story from a young person with a mental health condition.
Additional Resources for Parents: NAMI Basics OnDemand and local NAMI Family-to-Family Support Groups as well as the NAMI Kids, Teens and Young Adults section.
Methodology: This poll was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of NAMI between July 15–Aug. 1, 2022, using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. It is based on a representative sample of 1,015 U.S. teens (ages 12-17) recruited through their parents. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
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