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Helping Children Through Tough Times

Utah ranks highest in the nation in antidepressant use. According to the Utah state website, “From 2012 to 2014, Utah’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 20.8 per 100,000 persons. This is an average of 557 suicides per year. Utah has one of the highest age-adjusted suicide rates in the U.S.” In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death for individuals aged 10 through 24 in Utah. It’s more common than auto accident deaths. Every day 4 people aged 10 to 24 are treated for suicide attempts in Utah. 60-85% of Grand County students in grades 8, 10, and 12 report moderate or high levels of depressive symptoms.

Some prevalent risk factors in Grand County make depression and anxiety more likely. Common circumstances that exacerbate depression and anxiety include:

  • Academic failure in late elementary school
  • A family history of problem behavior
  • Early and persistent antisocial behavior
  • Family management problems
  • Transitions and mobility
  • Family conflict

Some common stressors for maturing youth may include:

  • School performance
  • Changing bodies and hormones
  • Making tough decisions
  • Strife with friends & family
  • Parent pressure and nagging

The good news: mentors (and other caring adults) can help. By creating a healthy bond with a young person, you buffer against some of these pressures. Your care and the enjoyable time spent together reduce stress. Children are more likely to confide in adults who earn their trust, especially during high-stress moments that may test their mental health.

You should:

  1. Spend time together. Trust and confidence take time to build. Always show respect and kindness.
  2. Do fun activities. This builds rapport and reduces stress that may be affecting your mentee.
  3. Ask your mentee about his or her hopes, fears, and concerns. Listen. Be supportive. Don’t judge.
  4. Never hesitate to contact Grand Area Mentoring or authorities if you fear for your mentee’s health or safety.



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