Adolescent girls battle depression, anxiety due to rise in sexual assaults

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI)- New trend data from the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior survey reveals that teen girls are experiencing extremely high levels of mental distress, violence, and substance use.

“The average is one in ten children, will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen. That’s actually a higher number when we talk about girls it’s more like one in seven,” said Kendra Eads, executive director at Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence.

Collected in the fall of 2021, this data represents the first data collected since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monitoring multiple health-related behaviors among high school students since 1991, such as depression, anxiety as well as suicidal thoughts, has brought added light to the growing epidemic.

“Depression after an abuse incident or assault, is a common response from trauma,” said Eads.

This is a critical first step to revealing, understanding, and addressing emerging threats to the health and well-being of the nation’s youth.

Added Eads: “You have an intervention address the abuser, the assault that they have experienced, and then get them support services because we know these numbers are very high.”

More than one in 10 teen girls reported they had ever been forced to have sex—up twenty seven percent since 2019 and the first increase since CDC began monitoring this measure.

As of 2021, three in five girls felt persistently sad and hopeless, a marker for depressive symptoms, up nearly sixty percent from 2011.

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