B.C. teens in need of mental health support: SFU report

A report from Simon Fraser University (SFU) is showcasing details about the mental health of teens in B.C.

According to the report, half of 15 to 17-year-olds in the province find their mental health to be fair or poor, while nearly 40 per cent screened positive for depression and generalized anxiety.

Health Sciences Assistant Professor Hasina Samji says one of the top concerns B.C. teens worry about is housing.

“Obviously they don’t need to go out and find housing today, yet they’re still worried about what will happen once they graduate,” she said.

Samji explains that teen mental health has been on a downward trend since before the pandemic — meaning it’s time for schools and officials to join parents and therapists and work to do something about it.

“I think one of the really critical things is the school community actually supporting schools, so we need to as individuals think about how can we support young people,” she said, noting these support systems could come from anyone who can help teens thrive where they are.

The report found that, while most youths had caring adults at home, fewer had them at school at 34 percent.

“What we’ve seen is that there is a tremendous pressure on schools and school staff, including teachers. It’s been a tough time going through the pandemic,” said Samji.

As well, Samji adds the mental health of school staff should be a priority as teacher shortages continue.

The report surveyed nearly 15,000 youths in 28 school districts across the province.

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