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Youth Mental Health in America: Understanding Resource Availability and Preferences

From January 28, 2019 to February 2, 2019, Born This Way Foundation worked with Benenson Strategy Group to survey over 2,000 young people ages 13 to 24 in the United States. We explored how youth view their own mental wellness, their access to key mental health resources, and how they want those resources to look.

Overall, the survey paints a portrait of youth who care about their mental wellness and recognize it as a priority, but who lack access to the resources they need to support and maintain it.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly 9-in-10 young people say mental health is a priority, but only 4-in-10 rate their own mental health highly. Additionally, a majority (55%) say they have felt stressed frequently in the past month and approximately a third felt helpless or sad (34%) or fearful (30%). The numbers are even more concerning for LGBTQ+ youth who are much less likely to rate their mental health highly (1-in-5) and much more likely to say they have felt stressed (69%), helpless or sad (53%), or fearful (44%) frequently in the past month.
  • Approximately 1-in-3 young people say they lack reliable access to resources to support their mental wellness or address a mental health issue and are even less likely to say they have the resources to deal with many serious but common situations. For example, about half of youth say they would not have the resources needed if they felt suicidal (48%) or like harming themselves (47%).
  • Youth cite knowing where to go and cost as their key barriers to mental health resources. Nearly half say that young people in their city “don’t know where to go” (47%) or “can’t afford the cost” (42%) of mental health resources.
  • While young people struggle to access mental health resources, they are open to using a wide variety of them and they want to learn skills to support their mental wellness. Encouragingly, most (80%) say they are interested in learning coping skills and tools to deal with the stresses of everyday life and that they would be comfortable using a variety of resources such as classes that teach skills to support mental wellness (69%).

You can read the full report below.

Download the B&W Version of the California Youth Mental Health: Understanding Resource Availability and Preferences (PDF)

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