May is Mental Health Awareness Month and with new reports of teens – especially girls – experiencing increased rates of sexual violence and suicidal thoughts, it’s never been a better time to check in with ourselves, check in with a friend or loved one, and know that hope and healing are on the other side of help.
A recent CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey is the first look at violence and suicidal trends since 2020 and highlights the importance of conversations around these hard topics at home and also in school.
Findings from the survey included:
- 57% of teen girls reported feeling sad or hopeless in 2021
- 30% reported considering suicide
- 18% experienced sexual violence
- 14% reported being forced to have sex.
Read more about the findings here.
Many parents think that abuse or sexual violence could never happen to their kids or teens. But unfortunately, we know these issues are a silent epidemic which occur at every socioeconomic level, across all ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions, and at all levels of education. The good news is that abuse is preventable, and support is available for those struggling in the aftermath.
The Lauren’s Kids Safer, Smarter Families Family Safety Toolkit is designed to help your family address personal and digital safety learning in a way that is comfortable and accessible for both you and your children. This resource, which is free for families, is designed to help your child understand age appropriate safety measures starting in kindergarten and growing with them into teen and adulthood.
For those who have been affected by sexual violence or sexual abuse, Lauren’s Kids has worked with therapists and advocates to develop a Guide to Hope and Healing for families that contains resources, references, tips, and activities to help facilitate healing and ease communication. The Guide contains resources for families and very young survivors through young adulthood. The first step is often the hardest, but know you are never alone on your healing journey and that hope is still possible when it feels like it is lost.
The Lauren’s Kids Safer, Smarter Schools curriculum is the country’s ﬁrst Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 school-based prevention and personal safety curriculum series. It was developed by the Lauren’s Kids Foundation, career educators, and developmental psychologists to educate children, teachers, and parents. The curriculum contains educationally sound and developmentally appropriate content for children, parents, teachers, and administrators, aligned to state and national education standards. The Safer, Smarter Kids program spans Pre-Kindergarten through grade 5, as well as special education; Safer, Smarter Teens provides lessons for middle and high school students, including developmentally-appropriate lessons on technology, safe relationships, bullying, accessing help for yourself and others, mental health, and more.
While these statistics about the rise in suicide rates, mental health challenges, and violence are deeply concerning, we know that together, we can combat them with support, awareness, advocacy, and education. To those suffering, we see you, hear you, and we are here to support you. You aren’t alone in your journey and together, we can keep shining light into the darkness.
For more information on the resources above or questions on how to implement them in your home or classroom, contact us today. We are here to help.