Students in grades 9 & 11 are surveyed and data is reported as the percentage of students who felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities during the past 12 months. The results in this report reflect student survey responses from high schools that voluntarily participated and may not be representative of all high schools in the county.
Data Source: Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth (MiPHY)
Why Is This Important?
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. During the pandemic, the proportion of adults that reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 11% to over 40% of adults nationally. The pandemic has also disproportionately affected the health of communities of color. Black (48%) and Hispanic or Latino (46%) adults were more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and/or depression than White adults (41%).
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health challenges were the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people, with up to 1 in 5 children ages 3 to 17 in the U.S. having a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. Additionally, from 2009 to 2019, the share of high school students who reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40%, to more than 1 in 3 students.
The shooting at Oxford High School also draws increased attention to and concern for youth mental health in Oakland County. School shootings can result in stress disorders, anxiety, and decreased feelings of safety and security.
The percentage of high school students in Oakland County that have reported poor mental health has been increasing over the past five years. There is a large disparity between male and female student outcomes, with a higher percentage of female students reporting feelings of sadness or hopelessness than male students.
The Oakland County Executive and Board of Commissioners established the Oakland Together Mental Health and Wellbeing Nonprofit Grant Program with $10 million from the American Rescue Plan Act Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. These funds will increase the capacity of Oakland County nonprofit organizations that deliver mental/behavioral health services to meet the increased demand for services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the tragedy of the Oxford School Shooting, the Oakland County Executive and Board of Commissioners awarded Oakland Community Health Network up to $500,000 to reduce financial barriers faced by eligible participants of the Oxford School District in accessing mental health supports and trauma informed care. The funding initiative will cover the costs associated with deductibles and copays to ensure that any Oxford student, family member, or faculty can access the mental health services they need.
Finally, suicide is a significant public health problem and is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. The Oakland County Suicide Prevention Task Force began in 2011 in response to a cluster of youth suicides in northern Oakland County. While the Task Force initially had a youth focus, it expanded to include all age groups in 2019.
For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division.