The Minnesota Department of Health recently released the 2022 Student Survey results.
More than 135,000 students completed the survey, nearly all in person at school.
This group of students reported greater struggles with mental health than at any time since the survey began every three years in 1989.
Twenty-nine percent of 11th-grade students surveyed reported long-term mental health problems, with 45 percent of females and 20 percent of males reporting these issues.
Another alarming trend was serious suicidal thoughts jumping to 28 percent.
“These results indicate the pandemic fueled and worsened ongoing trends of our teens reporting long-term mental health problems,” said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
“It will take more research to know the interplay of all the factors, but it is clear that this is a crisis, and Minnesotans, lawmakers and families need to focus resources inside and outside of schools to give our children and their families the connections, supports, stable environments and opportunities need for a sense of well-being about their lives and futures.”
Despite the increase in mental health challenges, students reported engaging in healthier behaviors related to sex, drugs, alcohol and commercial tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.
The survey also allowed students to self-identify their current gender, and about 11 percent of students in 8th grade or higher identified themselves as transgender, genderfluid, nonbinary, two-spirit, unsure, or didn’t answer the gender question.
Students who identified themselves as LGBTQ+ were three times as likely as heteronormative students to report serious suicidal thoughts and four times as likely to attempt suicide.