Mental Health

We explored the influence of mental health factors like stress and depression on patterns of substance use, educational attainment, and extracurricular involvement. Our results indicate that factors that promote mental health and alleviate stress are critical for ensuring a range of healthy development outcomes.

Some key highlights of our studies include:

  • Stresses that come along with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood can lead to depression and substance use
  • Chronic stress related to neighborhood disadvantage, poverty, and discrimination can lead to poor health outcomes for youth
  • Youth may self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs to address mental distress
  • Strong racial identity helps protect African American youth from depression and anxiety symptoms
  • Trusting and strong friendship bonds can decrease depressive symptoms

An image of mental health findings info graphic

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