Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



KIDS COUNT: Kids nationwide struggling with anxiety, depression; Minnesota ranks high in child well-being

The new report, released this morning, showed a rise among the state's ninth-graders battling long-term mental and emotional problems

2022 KIDS COUNT Data Book
Contributed / The Annie E. Casey Foundation
We are part of The Trust Project.

ROCHESTER. Minn. — The warning lights are flashing red when it comes to children’s mental health, as children nationwide struggle with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels, according to the “KIDS COUNT Data Book” released Monday .

Relatively speaking, kids in Minnesota fared better than their counterparts, ranking third in child well-being, according to the Data Book. But they are still suffering from their own mental health challenges.

Also Read
The town of Prinsburg, pop. 515, is being thrust into the larger, national debate over abortion as it considers an ordinance that would allow residents to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers.
What's on your "what I'm thankful for" list this Thanksgiving? On a trip to Central America, Viv Williams visits a vibrant health clinic and adds the team she met there to her gratitude list. Find out why in this NewsMD, "Health Fusion" column.
In 2013, a proposed merger between Sanford and Fairview derailed after Minnesota officials expressed concerns.

A growing share of ninth-graders in Minnesota reported a long-term mental health, behavioral or emotional problem, rising from 12.5% in 2013 to 23.1% in 2019.

The report shows a 26% increase nationally in anxiety and depression through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the U.S. surgeon general to describe the challenges children are facing as a “mental health pandemic.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought children trauma and tremendous loss over the past two and half years,” the publication states in a summary page. “As of July 2022, the health crisis had killed more than 1 million people in America, including more than 1,600 children. During this same time span, more than 200,00 kids had lost a parent or primary caregiver to the virus.”


The report uses national and state data across four domains — economic well-being, family and community, education and health — and ranks states in overall child well-being. The report includes pre-pandemic figures as well as more recent statistics.

The report describes the toll the pandemic and its associated stresses have taken on children. The share of children struggling to make it through the day rose nearly 26% in the first year of the pandemic — from 9.4% (5.8 million kids) in 2016 to 11.8% (7.3 million kids) in 2020.

Attempted suicides by high school students rose among nearly all racial, ethnic and gender categories. Across the U.S., 9% of all high schoolers attempted suicide in 2019.

The rate rises to 12% for Black students, 13% for students of two or more races and 26% for American Indian and Native Alaskan high schoolers. Among LGBTQ youth, the statistics show 23% of gay, lesbian and bisexual high schoolers reported an attempted suicide compared to just 6% of their heterosexual peers.

Minnesota trailed Massachusetts, which ranks first, and New Hampshire, which ranks second, in terms of child well-being. At the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico ranked worst in child well-being, followed by Louisiana (49th) and Mississippi (48th).

The Northeast and Midwest held the top ranks in terms of child-well-being. Nine of the top 10 states were from the two regions. States in Appalachia, as well as the Southeast and Southwest — where families have the lowest levels of household income — populate the bottom rungs in terms of child well-being.

The report was not without its bright spots. It showed that the share of families with incomes below the poverty line fell. Nationally, 17% of all children lived below the poverty line in 2016, down from 21% in 2008-12, meaning 2.6 million fewer children living in poverty.

Growing up in poverty poses one of the greatest threats to healthy child development. Children living in poverty are more likely to be exposed to factors that can impair brain development and lead to poor academic, cognitive and healthy outcomes.


The publication offers several recommendations to reduce pandemic-related stress among children.

Prioritize meeting kids’s basic needs. A solid foundation of nutritious food, stable housing and safe neighborhoods foster mental health and wellness, the report states.

Ensuring that every child has access to the mental health care they need — when and where they need it.

And bolstering evidence-based mental health care that considers young people’s experience and identities. Early intervention is key, as it can be especially important in the absence of a formal diagnosis of mental illness.

Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
What to read next
A jury in 2017 acquitted Jeronimo Yanez of second-degree manslaughter and a firearms charge in the shooting death the previous year of Philando Castile, a St. Paul school cafeteria supervisor, along Larpenteur Avenue.
The rental near U.S. Highway 61 shares fictional moments in Winona’s history: a giant squid in East Lake Winona, Bigfoot’s enjoyment of Bloedow Bakery, robots defeating aliens at a Sugarloaf Intergalactic Gas Station and a secret NASA base at Video Vision.
"She really was a beautiful person," Kristen Bicking's twin sister said Monday. "She would help anyone. She saw the best in everyone, and that’s what I'm going to do.
Margaret Oldenburg's specimens are helping researchers better understand the effects of climate change