Healthy Youth - Mental Health

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Mental health is as important as physical health. As with physical health, mental health is not merely the absence of disease or a mental health disorder. It includes emotional well-being, psychological well-being, social well-being and involves being able to:

  • Navigate successfully the complexities of life
  • Develop fulfilling relationships
  • Adapt to change

  • Realize their potential

  • Develop skills that help them navigate the different environments they inhabit.

It is normal for youth to experience some social or emotional distress as they grow and mature. For example, it is common for children, as well as adults, to experience anxiety or short periods of depression during a lifetime. While most youth are physically and emotionally healthy, 20-25 % of youth in the general population meet criteria for a lifetime mental disorder. Efforts can be taken to promote positive mental health and prevent or minimize mental health problems.

In Washington County,

  • Student perceptions of teachers’ interest in them as an individual are about the same between males and females within each grade. More 5th grade students agree or strongly agree with this statement than all of their high school counterparts; 86% of 5th grade males and 89% of 5th grade females compared to 70% of 11th grade males and females
  • Since 2004, more than 90 percent of Washington County students in all surveyed grades have reported feeling safe at school.
  • Fifth grade students report the highest occurrence of experiencing violent behavior from other students; 5.3% of 5th grade boys were bullied or harassed by others.
  • Females experience mental health concerns at a significantly higher rate than their male peers. 8th, 9th, and 11th grade girls report significant problems with suicidal thoughts at 17.8%, 21.0%, and 14.2%, respectively. Over time, there has been a decline in past-year suicidal thoughts among Washington County ninth graders; 15.3% in 2013, down from 23.6% ten years ago.

2013 Minnesota Student Survey, Washington County


FindYouthHealthInfo-Youth Mental Health
School Health Project/Center for Mental Health in Schools
National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota
Washington County Teen Health Activities and Resources
Forest Lake Area Partnership for Families
Suicide Prevention Collaborative
CONNECT Chemical Health Action Collaborative


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