Teen girls ‘engulfed’ in violence and trauma, CDC finds

Teenage girls are experiencing record-high levels of sadness and violence. 

A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a record-high percentage of teen girls are persistently sad or hopeless. 

Nearly three in five teenage girls felt persistent sadness in 2021, double the rate of boys, and one in three girls seriously considered attempting suicide.

The rates of sadness are the highest reported in a decade, reflecting a long-brewing national tragedy only made worse by the isolation and stress of the Covid pandemic.

According to the report, 57 percent of teen girls in 2021 reported feeling “persistently sad or hopeless” over the past year, up from 36 percent in 2011 and the highest rate seen in the last decade.

By comparison, 29 percent of teen boys reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, compared to 21 percent in 2011.

“America’s teen girls are engulfed in a growing wave of sadness, violence, and trauma,” Debra Houry, the CDC’s chief medical officer, said at a press briefing Monday.

About 30 percent of teen girls said they had seriously considered attempting suicide, up from 19 percent in 2011. About 14 percent of teenage boys said the same, a marginal increase from 13 percent in 2011.

A large percentage of girls have already been victims of sexual violence. A devastating 18 percent of teen girls said they had experienced some form of sexual violence in the past year, compared to only 5 percent of teen boys.

The rate of teen girls who have experienced sexual violence has increased by 20 percent since 2017 when the CDC first started tracking the measure. 

Nearly 15 percent of teen girls said they had ever been forced to have sex, a big jump of 27 percent from 2019 and the first increase since the CDC began tracking the metric. 

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