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1 in 10 children in Virginia suffer from anxiety or depression, study finds

The study drew on survey data from half a million U.S. teenagers from 2010 to 2015.
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Newly released data shows that about 1 in 10 Virginia children are experiencing mental health problems. Those numbers are on par with the national average.

The Annie E Casey foundation says 11% of children in Virginia – ages three to 17 – are suffering from anxiety or depression. That’s reported by their parents.

“And I’ve seen higher rates of that even when you look at data directly from children,” says

Lauren Snellings – research director at Voices for Virginia’s Children.

It’s a mental health crisis she fears is worse now than when the data was collected in 2019 and 2020.

“So I think this is just the peak of what the pandemic has caused,” Snellings says.

Funding for children’s services, including counselors, social workers and psychiatrists, could help ease things. And, she adds, improving economic conditions overall will also help. Children who grow up in poverty are two to three times more likely to develop mental health conditions.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief. She's covered policy and politics from the state capital since 2016. She was a 2020-2021 recipient of the Fulbright Young Journalist Award. She spent a year in Munich, Germany researching memory, justice, and how a society can collectively confront its sins. Her Virginia-based coverage of home healthcare workers, voting rights, and Richmond’s Slave Trail have won national news awards.