Indiana youth having problems with depression and anxiety made worse by pandemic

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Sad woman lying on the couch at home feeling bad
Some kids in Indiana are having problems with depression and anxiety, and the pandemic has made that worse, says the annual Kids Count Data Book, which just came out and actually measured what was happening in 2020. That’s the last year for which data was available.
“Child and teen deaths are up. Obesity is up and more children are being born at low birth weight,” said Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which compiles the report.
But, she said for the first time, the report focused on mental health.
“Between 2016 and 2020, the numbers of kids who were reported as being anxious or depressed increased 26 percent,” she said. That’s the number across the country. Hamilton said the Hoosier State’s numbers correspond. “Indiana has seen a huge spike in the number of people who are reporting mental health challenges.
Almost every health factor measured by the Kids Count report has gotten worse. The only factor that has gotten better is the number of children without health insurance.
But, Hamilton said it’s important that mental health issues be addressed.
“Children have gone through a lot during the pandemic, from dealing with fear and economic instability and forced distancing,” she said.
Indiana has gotten better in other areas measured by the report. But, the data is from 2020, and says the economic outlook was generally better. Since then, inflation has increased food and housing prices.
As of 2020 about one in five kids in Indiana lived in poverty. For children of color, that’s more like a third, said Hamilton.
“Growing up in poverty is one of the highest risk factors for young people,” she said. “If they aren’t able to get their basic needs met the amount of stress and instability they experience can impact them long into adulthood.”
She said it also has an impact on a person’s education and health.
Some of the Indiana stats can be found here

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