Great Lakes Recovery Center data shows increase in depression, anxiety feelings in middle school students
UPPER MICHIGAN, Mich. (WLUC) - Health data collected by the Great Lakes Recovery Center shows depression is on the rise among younger groups of students.
Once every two years, the Great Lakes Recovery Center conducts a survey with middle and high school students across the U.P.
In Dickinson and Iron Counties, every sixth, eighth, 10th, and 12th grader completes the survey.
“It breaks down and shows us what our risks and protective factors are within each community. Some of the things we may be seeing in Dickinson County, might not be what Marquette County sees,” said Tracy Johnson, Great Lakes Recovery Center director of preventive services.
Johnson said this year’s survey revealed a concerning shift in the ages experiencing depression and anxiety. She said while reports are lower in 10th grade than two years ago, they have risen among sixth and eighth graders.
“We really thought that in 10th grade we were going to see negative numbers. In COVID, the numbers went down by two percent for 10th grade. Then, our sixth and eighth-grade numbers went up quite significantly,” Johnson said.
She said the impact of the pandemic on younger students is just now being felt.
“The second leading cause of death is suicide in ages 10-24. That is very young,” Johnson said.
This impacts how school administration and school resource officers approach student behavior.
“I want them to come to me for help, for whatever they need. This is my job. This is my jurisdiction,” said Matt Brouillette, Kingsford Public Safety school resource officer.
Brouillette said it is important for parents to take concerns from their teenage children seriously and seek out help.
“There needs to be an understanding with parents that you would take your child to the doctor for a broken leg,” Brouillette said. “This is no different for an imbalance of chemicals in your head. It’s a disorder.”
Brouillette said the Breitung Township Schools administration he works with is extremely proactive with student safety and he wants to continue to build a positive rapport with the community.
More information about the programs and the survey project can be found here.
Copyright 2023 WLUC. All rights reserved.