CAYUGA, Ind. (WTHI) - Officials say half of all lifetime cases of mental illness start by age 14. But one meeting of area youth workers is focused on helping Hoosier kids.
Anxiety and Depression in Youth was the topic of Wednesday’s Youth Worker Café in Cayuga.
Jocelyn Ricket is a Psychology major at Indiana State University who attended the meeting. She says she wants to work with youth in the future.
Ricket says, "Having an insight on how to detect and deal with depression and anxiety in youth I think is going to be really important with whatever career I choose down the line."
Event speaker Yessi Girdler says kids today are facing a lot. This includes body insecurity, abuse at home, sexuality and much more. Ultimately, she says these many factors are impacting the mental health of children.
Girdler says, "Working as a school counselor, I see anxiety a lot all the way from kindergarteners up to middle schoolers and high school students."
Girdler turned the presentation over to cafe attendees. They came from different professional backgrounds and organizations that help children. Each person brought something different to the table, and could share what issues they were seeing in their lines of work.
Many attendees said one of the biggest changes in recent years is the stress on kids from social media.
Ricket says, "It used to be at school you might get picked on but you could go home and you could get away from it. But now kids go home and get on Facebook or Instagram and they see comments and stuff and they can't get away."
Girdler adds, “The way kids sometimes project themselves, they make YouTube videos, and then other kids see it. They tend to use it as a platform to speak out but at the same time while they're speaking out, it's not always health as they're putting it out there."
As far as helping out our youths, Ricket says sometimes the first and best step is offering a listening ear.
Ricket says, "Talk to the youth and don't pass judgement. It's not their fault. Make sure that they know that. That they don't feel responsible. Also, reach out to professionals because they're the ones that are trained and they know how to really deal with it."
Officials say there is one big warning sign of depression in children. They say look out for kids stopping or losing interest in activities they normally enjoy doing.
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