By Azeen Ghorayshi and Roni Caryn Rabin, NY Times
The C.D.C. found that teenage girls, as well as gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals, have reported increasing rates of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and sexual violence. Every two years the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is administered to high schoolers across the United States, and since 2011, deteriorating mental health rates have increased. The most recent survey showed that 3 in 5 teenage girls felt persistent sadness, 1 in 3 girls seriously considered suicide attempts, and more than 1 in 5 gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals reported suicide attempts in the year before the survey was administered.
This data presents the highest rates of adolescent sadness in a decade, and these worsening rates are believed to be partly associated with the isolation and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, doctors and researchers are finding that female, gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents are disproportionately affected by sexual violence. Additionally, females are affected by cyberbullying at rates double that of boys. These factors are thought to be associated with the increasing rates of poor mental well-being among these groups.
It is important to raise awareness of increasing mental health issues among adolescents and especially among girls, as well as gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resource
— By Rebecca Sugerman
By Jan Hoffman, NY Times
This week, experts announced that Narcan should be made available to purchase without a prescription. Narcan is an overdose-reversing nasal spray, and many doctors and advocacy groups have been fighting to make this an over-the-counter drug for a while. This change will allow Narcan to be easily accessible in homes, schools, and other public places, thus preventing many fatalities. Overdoses have become increasingly common over the past few years, and while Narcan has become commonly used, it has only been administered by healthcare workers, like providers and emergency responders.
Due to the rising amounts of overdose deaths in recent years, the Biden Administration has prioritized expanding access to the drug. In 2021, there were 107,000 overdose deaths, including fatalities from opioids and other illegally prescribed prescription drugs. It was also noted in the panel that the nasal spray has no potential for misuse or abuse, and there is no medical training necessary to administer the drug. Panelists claim that the expansion of Narcan will help reduce the stigma towards people who use drugs, as well as increase the public’s awareness of the overdose crisis. If the F.D.A. approves an over-the-counter version of Narcan next month, we will see it available in stores and pharmacies as soon as this summer.
— By Jordyn Rosenberg
By Tina Reed, Axios
A new report from the CDC surveyed over 18,000 parents about their children’s nutrition. The study focused on children ages 1 to 5 in the United States and found that nearly half (49.1%) of all young kids aren’t eating daily vegetables. Additionally, about 1 in every 3 (32.1%) kids were reported as having not consumed a daily fruit in the prior week. The quality of a child’s diet has serious implications for their growth and development. This report should seriously alarm public health officials for two reasons: 1) there has already been an increased focus on chronic diet-related illnesses and the subsequent funding towards food as medicine programs. 2) The survey uncovered glaring health disparities in the U.S. regarding access to nutritional foods. Results drastically varied by state, with Vermont having double the children who ate daily vegetables during the prior week compared to Louisiana. Further, Mississippi also had a whopping 80% of all children surveyed consuming a sugar-sweetened beverage in the prior week.
The report was also marked by a stark difference in race and ethnicity as relating to the quality of nutrition for children. Non-Hispanic black children had the highest likelihood of not consuming a daily fruit or vegetable, matching with statistics of states with large populations of minority demographics. States need to address this health disparity by prioritizing efforts to improve early childhood nutrition through the funding of programs that directly target food deserts and areas of food insecurity.
— By Nolan Shah
Items contributed by: Rebecca Sugerman, Jordyn Rosenberg, and Nolan Shah