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Study: Depression Up Among Cuyahoga County Middle Schoolers

The number of middle school students in Cuyahoga County who say they are depressed has increased by 33% since 2010. This is based on recent data from the new Youth Risk Behavior Survey from Case Western Reserve University. The survey also focused on the “protective factors” that help students build resiliency to improve mental health issues like depression.

The protective factors include things like participation in youth programs, talking with parents about school, being involved in school, feeling valued by the community, volunteering in the community, and academic achievement.

More students reported that they feel valued by the community and more of them said they talk with their parents about school. The other factors either stayed the same or decreased compared to past years, says Jean Frank, Director of Adolescent Surveillance and Evaluation at Case's Prevention Research Center.

"We increasingly are focusing on ways that parents and community can lift up students for improving their feelings of connectedness and ability to perform in school," Frank said.

Frank notes that the more protective factors a student has, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors, like violence or substance use. They’re also less likely to report depressive symptoms.

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