Mental health issues are rising in Gen Z – The Licking News

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By Winter Murray, Intern summer 2022

Mental health is a major issue. There are more and more behavioral problems in schools, more and more people of all ages are turning to drugs and alcohol, there are overwhelming pressures in our society, and a growing number of people are unable to maintain employment due to mental health issues, impacting the workforce.

“Mental health includes our emotional, physiological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, interact with others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood,” according to the CDC.

Many factors explain why so many people have mental health problems.

“Adverse early life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse, experiences related to other ongoing medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain , alcohol or drug use, feeling lonely or isolated, are some common reasons, according to the CDC.

Stress can also be a major factor. Students find it difficult to juggle everything in their day-to-day lives. Many students take university courses, play several sports and try to work, while trying to maintain a social life. Society’s pressure on students includes thinking you have to get A’s, you have to play at least one sport, and you have to have a job to have the money to hang out with your friends. The truth is, you barely get the chance to hang out with your friends. Children who play more than one sport almost never get a break; when one sport ends, another begins. You may be thinking, “What about summer?” But even then, the kids are in the gym or on the field several times a week, and many of them work right after that.

Det. Kenny Santee of the Licking Police Department said mental illness calls come in frequently; he saw a huge age range, from 11-year-olds to middle-aged people. Many of these calls come from a third party. All officers receive ongoing training in de-escalation, mental health and crisis intervention on an annual basis. Currently, one officer has completed advanced specialist training in Crisis Intervention (CIT). Police Chaplain Paul Richardson was very helpful, assisting the LPD in a crisis.

If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to seek help from a family member or friend you can trust, online, in person, or over the phone. You can also call the new National Mental Health Hotline on 988.

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