Download & Other Tools
- Definition: Percentage of students in grades 7, 9, and 11, and non-traditional students, reporting whether in the past 12 months, they had felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more that they stopped doing some usual activities, by gender.
- Data Source: California Department of Education, California Healthy Kids Survey (WestEd).
- Footnote: Data are presented in periods of two school years combined (e.g., 2008-2010 reflects data from school years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010). The grade levels included in school district-level data depend on the grades offered in each school district; for example, high school districts do not include 7th grade data. "Non-traditional" students are those enrolled in Community Day Schools or Continuation Education. N/A indicates that the survey was not administered in that period or that data are not available for that group. LNE indicates that for a specific answer there were fewer than 20 respondents.
- Measures of Emotional/Mental Health on Kidsdata.org
Kidsdata.org provides the estimated percentage of youth ages 12-17 who reported needing help during the past year for emotional or mental health problems, and, of those, the estimated percentage who reported receiving counseling. In addition, kidsdata.org shows the number and rate of hospitalizations for mental health issues per 1,000 children and youth ages 5-19, by age group.
Kidsdata.org also offers a measure of “depression-related feelings,” which refers to student reports of whether, in the past 12 months, they felt so sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more that they stopped doing some usual activities. This is one indicator of depression, though it is not a measure of clinical depression.The data on depression-related feelings come from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) through a partnership with WestEd, which developed and administers the CHKS, and the California Department of Education. Data are available by grade level (7th, 9th, and 11th, and non-traditional students); gender and grade level; race/ethnicity; and level of connectedness to school. School connectedness is a summary measure that includes student reports of the following elements: being treated fairly, feeling close to people, feeling happy, feeling part of school, and feeling safe at school.
"Non-traditional" students are those enrolled in Community Day Schools or Continuation Education. According to EdSource, more than 10% of public school students in California are enrolled in these programs.
- Emotional/Mental Health
- Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
- Alcohol Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Alcohol Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Alcohol Use (on School Property in Past Month), by Grade Level
- Alcohol Use (How Much Students Report Drinking), by Grade Level
- Binge Drinking in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Drinking and Driving or Riding with a Driver Who Had Been Drinking, by Grade Level
- Cigarette Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Cigarette Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Cigarette Use (on School Property in Past Month), by Grade Level
- Inhalant Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Marijuana Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Marijuana Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Marijuana Use (on School Property in Past Month), by Grade Level
- Marijuana or Other Drug Use (How High Students Report Getting), by Grade Level
- Recreational Use of Prescription Drugs (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Alcohol or Other Drug Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Alcohol or Other Drug Use (on School Property in the Past Month), by Grade Level
- Bullying and Harassment at School
- Any Reason For Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Any Bias-Related Reason For Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Disability as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Gender as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Race or National Origin as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Religion as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Sexual Orientation as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Other Non-Specified Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Community Connectedness
- Caring Adults in the Community, by Grade Level
- High Expectations from Adults in the Community, by Grade Level
- Meaningful Participation in the Community, by Grade Level
- Total Community Assets, by Grade Level
- Disconnected Youth
- School Safety
- Perceptions of School Safety, by Grade Level
- Fear of Being Beaten Up at School, by Grade Level
- Physical Fighting at School, by Grade Level
- Carrying a Gun at School, by Grade Level
- Carrying a Knife or Other Weapon at School, by Grade Level
- School Connectedness
- Caring Adults at School, by Grade Level
- High Expectations from Teachers and Others, by Grade Level
- Meaningful Participation at School, by Grade Level
- Total School Assets, by Grade Level
- School Connectedness, by Grade Level
- Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury
- Why This Topic Is Important
Emotional health includes self-confidence, the ability to form and maintain caring relationships, coping skills, optimism, and the ability to make positive choices. Sound emotional health, which is more than the absence of mental disorders, is critical to equipping young people for the challenges of growing up and living as healthy adults (1).
Depression is one of the most common emotional health problems among teens, estimated to affect 15-20% of youth under 18 in the U.S. (2). In 2011, almost 30% of high school students nationwide reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness – one indicator of depression (3). Youth diagnosed with depression often experience significant impairment in peer, family, school, and physical functioning (2, 4). Depressed teens also have higher rates of other emotional and behavioral health problems, such as anxiety, drug use, aggressiveness, and suicidal behavior; and they are more likely to experience depression and other psychological problems as adults (2, 4). In addition, rates of serious chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, are higher among individuals with depressive symptoms (5). Depression can be especially difficult to detect in children, as it can manifest differently in young people than in adults (4).
For more information on emotional health, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.1. American Psychological Association. (2012). Emotional health. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/topics/emotion/index.aspx
Sources for this narrative:
2. Jaycox, L. H., et al. (2009). Impact of teen depression on academic, social, and physical functioning. Pediatrics, 124(4), e569-e605. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/4/e596.full.pdf+html?sid=a7050435-b8ce-45e7-a73e-8cdd78d4ed3e
3. Child Trends Data Bank. (2012). Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless. Retrieved from: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=adolescents-who-felt-sad-or-hopeless
4. Brent, D. A., & Birmaher, B. (2002). Adolescent depression. New England Journal of Medicine, 347, 667-671.
5. Katon, W. J. (2003). Clinical and health services relationships between major depression, depressive symptoms, and general medical illness. Biological Psychiatry, 54(3), 216-226.
- How Children Are Faring
In 2011-12, 19% of youth in California ages 12-17 reported needing help for emotional or mental health problems, such as feeling sad, anxious, or nervous. This figure is higher than previous years. Among those who reported needing help, only a third (32%) reported receiving counseling.
In California, about 28% of 7th graders, 31% of 9th graders, and 32% of 11th graders reported that, in the past 12 months, they had been so sad or hopeless every day for at least two weeks that they stopped doing some usual activities, according to 2008-10 data. Non-traditional students (i.e., those enrolled in Community Day Schools or Continuation Education) had the highest percentages reporting depression-related feelings in the past year: 37% in 2008-10.
As in previous years, greater percentages of females in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades reported depression-related feelings than their male peers in 2008-10. In addition, students who reported feeling less connected to their schools more often reported depression-related feelings. Among racial/ethnic groups, the percentage reporting depression-related feelings ranged from 27% to 34% in 2008-10, with the highest percentages among multiethnic and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students.
In 2012, there were 12,538 hospitalizations for mental health issues among children ages 5-14 in California (a rate of 2.5 per 1,000), and 25,125 among youth ages 15-19 (9.0 per 1,000). The statewide rate of hospitalizations for mental health issues has fluctuated, but has increased overall among both children and youth between 2002 and 2012.
- Policy Implications
Many primary care providers do not routinely screen youth for emotional and mental health issues, and teachers often lack the training or the time to identify such issues and refer students for intervention (1).
According to research and subject experts, policy options that could promote emotional and mental health include:
- Ensuring adequate funding and training for a range of school professionals to recognize the signs of depression, self-injury, and suicidal ideation, and to connect students with appropriate services, including specific training for meeting the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth (2, 3, 4)
- Structuring public health systems and insurance reimbursement policies to require depression screening and encourage regular administration of psychosocial exams to youth (1)
- Promoting efforts in communities to provide youth with positive experiences, relationships, and opportunities, such as quality after-school programs, which can help youth develop skills to make healthy choices and become caring, responsible adults (5)
- Supporting efforts in schools to provide a positive, supportive environment and to offer comprehensive K-12 education for social-emotional development, including interpersonal communication, goal setting, anger management, and advocacy skills, as supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the California Education Code (5, 6)
- Setting school policies that foster student connectedness and a positive relationship with school (7, 8).
For more policy ideas and information on this topic, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section, or visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also see the Policy Implications sections in the following kidsdata.org topics: School Safety, Bullying/Harassment at School, School Connectedness, Pupil Support Service Personnel, Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs, Child Abuse, and Foster Care.
Sources for this narrative:
1. Dowdy, E., et al. (2010). School-based screening: A population-based approach to inform and monitor children’s mental health needs. School Mental Health, 2(4), 166-176. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957575/
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health: Youth. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm
3. Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2012). The role of high school teachers in preventing suicide. Retrieved from: http://www.sprc.org/sites/sprc.org/files/Teachers.pdf
4. Report of the U.S. Surgeon General and of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. (2012). National strategy for suicide prevention 2012: Goals and objectives for action. Retrieved from: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/National-Strategy-for-Suicide-Prevention-2012-Goals-and-Objectives-for-Action/PEP12-NSSPGOALS
5. California Education Code Section 51890-51891. Retrieved from: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=edc&group=51001-52000&file=51890-51891
6. American Academy of Pediatrics. (n.d.). Health, mental health and safety guidelines for schools. Retrieved from: http://www.nationalguidelines.org/chapter_full.cfm?chap=4
7. Monahan, K., et al. (2010). Predictors and consequences of school connectedness: The case for prevention. The Prevention Researcher, 17(3), 3-6. Retrieved from: http://www.pitt.edu/~adlab/People%20pics%20and%20links/Publications%20page/Predictors%20and%20Consequences%20of%20School%20Connectedness.pdf
8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). School connectedness: Strategies for increasing protective factors among youth. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/protective/pdf/connectedness.pdf
- Websites with Related Information
- Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
- Child Trends: Adolescents Who Felt Sad or Hopeless
- Child Trends: Youth Development
- Mental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Center for Children in Poverty: Children’s Mental Health
- National Institute of Mental Health: Child and Adolescent Mental Health
- Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents Knowledge Path, Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)
- Teen Depression: A Guide for Parents, Helpguide.org
- Key Reports
- Building Strong Systems of Support for Young Children’s Mental Health: Key Strategies for States and a Planning Tool, 6/2011, National Center for Children in Poverty, Smith et al.
- Children’s Mental Health: What Every Policymaker Should Know, 4/2010, National Center for Children in Poverty, Stagman & Cooper
- Impact of Teen Depression on Academic, Social, and Physical Functioning, 2009, Pediatrics, Jaycox, L., et al.
- Racial Gaps in Early Childhood: Socio-emotional Health, Developmental, and Educational Outcomes Among African-American Boys, 5/2011, National Center for Children in Poverty, Aratani et al.
- Realizing the Promise of the Whole-School Approach to Children’s Mental Health: A Practical Guide for Schools, 2011, National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, Bershad, C. & Blaber, C.
- Reducing the Burden of Depression in Youth: What Are the Implications of Neuroscience and Genetics on Policies and Programs?, 2/2013, Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 52, Issue 2, Supplement 2, Patel, V.
- Research on the Relationship Between Mental Health and Academic Achievement, 6/2012, National Association of School Psychologists, Charvat
- Serious Mental Health Challenges among Older Adolescents and Young Adults, 5/6/2014, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quarterly
- The Face of the Future: Risk and Resiliency in Minority Youth, 2011, Health Disparities in Youth and Families, Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Cauce, A., et al
- The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress, 1/2012, American Academy of Pediatrics, Shonkoff, J. P., et al.
- Unclaimed Children Revisited: California Case Study, 4/2010, National Center for Children in Poverty, Cooper, J., et al.
- What Works to Prevent or Reduce Internalizing Problems or Socio-Emotional Difficulties in Adolescents, 12/2011, Child Trends, Terzian, M., et al.
- County/Regional Reports
- 2014 Youth Wellbeing Report Card: Santa Monica, California, 2014, Cradle to Career Working Group
- Children's Report Card: Sacramento County Children's Coalition, 2013
- Kern County Report Card, 2014, Kern County Network for Children
- Orange County Community Indicators Report, 2014
- San Diego County Report Card on Children & Families, 2013, The Children's Initiative and Johnson Group Consulting, Inc.
- Santa Barbara County Children's Scorecard, 2011, Santa Barbara County KIDS Network
- Santa Clara County Children's Agenda: 2014 Data Book, 2014, Planned Parenthood and Kids in Common
- The Developmental Assets Survey: Young People Talk About Growing Up in Silicon Valley, 2011, Project Cornerstone
- Tulare County Children’s Report Card 2010, 2011, Children's Services Network
- More Data Sources For Emotional/Mental Health
- America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Childstats.gov
- Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings & Roadmaps