High Rates of Self Harm
New poll reveals American teens are experiencing anxiety and depression
- By JP Guilbault
- April 01, 2021
The most recent Navigate360 and
Zogby Strategies Safety and Wellbeing
Poll shows the growing teen anxiety
brought on by the COVID-19
pandemic and its impact on America’s
economy, culture and daily life.
This is the second poll in a series of nationwide
surveys conducted by Navigate360, a
full-spectrum safety preparedness and
response company, and John Zogby Strategies,
a national polling firm, which revealed
that many American teens are not confident
in their school leadership’s ability to keep
them safe as they return to the classroom.
When asked what kept them up at night,
teens overwhelmingly reported anxiety and
depression as key factors. However, even more
concerning was that 56% of students reported
that they personally knew someone who considered
self-harm or suicide, but less than one
third (32%) believed their school was prepared
to handle this issue, demonstrating that school
leaders need to address social and emotional
safety in addition to physical safety.
Only 36% of teens ages 16-17 reported
they know who to call and where to report a
threat, less than half (42%) believe their
school is doing its best to create an atmosphere
of physical and emotional safety.
These stats show diminishing confidence and
feelings of security compared to a similar
poll conducted in August.
The most recent Safety and Security Poll is
the second analysis from Navigate360 and
John Zogby Strategies in their partnership to
assess the state of mental and physical safety
and wellbeing in the United States. One poll
focused on adults, and the companion poll
captured the attitudes and beliefs of teens aged
16-17. The results show that despite the end of
2020, a change in administration, and hope for
vaccines to prevent the spread and rise of the
Covid-19 pandemic, fear is still present in the
lives of many Americans both young and old.
Other Key Takeaways
- Survey. Fifty-eight percent of teens and
76% of adults surveyed said they only felt
safe at home. Compared to the last survey,
this is a 12-point decrease for teens but a
6-point increase for adults.
- Planning. Only 37% of teens believe that
their school has a comprehensive emergency
- Emotional safety. Fifty-five percent of
teens surveyed said they thought more
about their physical and emotional safety
and wellness compared to six months ago.
When looking at teens in large cities, this
jumps to 75%.
- Priority. Only 55% of teens believed that
school leaders thought safety was a priority
and only 42% thought schools were spending
enough time and money to keep students
safe. One-in-three (35%) said they
felt the “least safe” in school compared to
their home, after-school job, favorite restaurant
or place of worship.
Based on the results, students don’t feel
safe in school and as a nation we need to put
in the work to reverse this trend. Through
staff trainings and established processes and
protocols, schools can ensure students are
supported and comfortable asking for help.
Leaders in both the public and private sectors
need to come together and take action to
address our nation’s school safety crisis.
Americans should have confidence that
students are learning in environments that
are physically, socially, and emotionally safe
and allow young adults to thrive so they can
reach their full potential.
The Poll results showed adults were somewhat
more upbeat on how leaders and institutions
are handling matters of workplace, school
and public safety. Of the nine areas tested, confidence among adults actually rose in six categories
between four and eight percentage
points. Nonetheless, 38% feel less safe about
their own or their child’s school, 34% about
their place of worship, and 50% about their
favorite restaurant. Three in five (59%) said
they now think more about their physical and
emotional safety than they did six months ago.
While adults are slowly becoming more
confident, today’s Gen Z teens are known for
not trusting familiar institutions and leaders.
The current crisis only seems to have exacerbated
that rejection, especially towards
school leadership and their ability to keep
students safe. Unaddressed, this could have
broader outcomes on Gen-Z’s future.
This article originally appeared in the March / April 2021 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.