Building Hope. Saving Lives.
Just after returning to school during the pandemic, Maine’s middle & high schoolers took the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, which measures health behaviors and attitudes regarding tobacco, alcohol, substance use, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, and protective factors.
The local mental health results were sobering. 42% of Morse high schoolers and 42% of Bath middle schoolers felt so sad or hopeless in the past 12 months, that they stopped doing normal activities – a key indicator of depression.
Equally concerning, 24% of Morse high schoolers, 30% Bath middle schoolers and 31% of Woolwich middle schoolers indicated they have seriously considered suicide.
At the same time, the housing crisis that continues to make it harder for working families to find an affordable place to live, has had a disproportionate effect on youth experiencing homelessness.
On Oct. 1, 2022, at least 2,186 Maine students were homeless, according to the Maine Department of Education. Half were living doubled-up in a home or apartment that was not their own, 33% were in hotels or motels, 11% were in shelters and 4% were in cars, in abandoned buildings or outside. 1
These statistics indicate staggering needs among our youth, and are a call to action
for schools, municipalities, youth-serving
organizations, parents, and every member of our community. It will require all of us working together, and pooling our resources, to make a difference.
While the root causes of these issues are often complex, the solutions don’t need to be.
From simple acts showing youth that they matter like giving a ride to school or eating dinner together, to increasing access to critical supports that meet basic needs, to developing new opportunities – MYC is committed to building hope and saving lives.
We welcome you to join us – whether as a volunteer, an advocate, a partner, or a financial supporter, you can build a hopeful future for local youth.
As you read through this newsletter, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line or join me for a tour and a cup of coffee! Read Newsletter
1 Paolella, V. (2023, Mar 5). Housing crisis drives rise in youth homelessness. Sun Journal https://www.sunjournal.com/2023/03/05/housing-crisis-drives-rise-in-youth-homelessness/