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Nonprofit addresses growing youth mental health crisis

In the 2016 report, Oregon ranked number 49 out of 51, making it the third worst in addressing this problem.

Posted: Nov. 9, 2017 7:40 PM
Updated: Nov. 9, 2017 7:53 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – The issue of mental health is a growing problem for youth nationwide, and it’s an even bigger issue for teens in Oregon.

In a 2016 report by Mental Health America, Oregon ranked number 49 out of 51, making it the third worst state in the county in addressing this problem.

The nonprofit also included the District of Columbia in it's report.

Looking Glass Community Services, a non-profit organization that helps teens in crisis, helps about 600 teens daily. Clinical director Liz Schwartz said all of them deal with some sort of mental health issue. Schwartz said they provide a mental health assessment of every teen who walks through their door.

“Life looks really different to teenagers today and there is a lot of stress” Schwartz said. “There is dynamic that they're maturing in maybe a faster rate but they're brains don't quite do it that way and when they're trying to keep up I think that makes things more complex and come out in mental health issues.”

After they provide an assessment, Schwartz said they decide what the most appropriate treatment might be. That treatment could include group work, family work or social skills practice in a class room. Some have more severe cases, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, while other teens suffer from anxiety.

“Youth come to us because they're struggling with anxiety and basic school stuff,” Schwartz said. “Being a teenager is hard and they're going through some transitions. Youth that come out of very traumatic home environments and abusive may have a whole range of things.”

Schwartz said people of all ages, especially teens, need to know they're not alone when dealing with mental health problems and to not be afraid to ask for help.

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