New study ranks Tennessee low in child well-being

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:15 AM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - New data suggests that Tennessee children are struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels.

The state ranks 36th in child well-being and expanded support for children and families is needed for significant changes to be made.

This is data from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and a data book from the Annie Casey Foundation.

The 50-state report shows children in the United States are in the midst of a mental health crisis, with unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression.

The data shows 1/10 Tennessee children are diagnosed with anxiety or depression and those numbers are trending in the wrong direction.

It also shows racial disparities when it comes to mental health, highlighting how susceptible each community’s youth are to suicide:

  • 12% of black students
  • 13% of students of two or more races
  • 23% of gay students
  • 26% of American Indian or native Alaskan
  • 9% of high schoolers overall

Tennessee’s strongest ranking is in education, coming in at 25th, which is an improvement from previous years.

The study also found that youth who grow up in poverty are 2-3 times more likely to experience mental health issues, and schools should increase the presence of social workers and psychologists to help.

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