Youth & Mental Health Fact Sheet


  Youth & Mental Health Fact Sheet

Coast to Forest Resources

Thank you for exploring our fact sheet series. To learn more about substance use and mental health, check out our other fact sheets. To find local resources, check out the Coast to Forest County-Specific Resource Guides. For a variety of national and state-focused resources, please visit our Helplines & Practical Tools page.

What is Mental Health?

  • Mental health is the combination of emotional, psychological, and social well-being1 

  • Mental health challenges can occur at any age, and it is important to be aware of how these challenges may present differently for youth1 

  • In the past decade, mental health challenges in youth have significantly increased and the pandemic has only exacerbated this trend1 

Facts & Statistics

  • Nationally, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 10–24-year-olds2 

  • In 2020, emergency room (ER) visits for mental health challenges increased by 24% for 5–11-year-olds and 30% for 12-17-year-olds2 

  • In 2021, Oregon had the highest rate of youth with at least one major depressive episode in country3 

  • In 2021, 14,000 Oregon youth were living with a substance use disorder3 

Warning Signs

  • A sudden change in behavior7 

  • Decrease in school performance or grades4 

  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits4 

  • Severe mood swings or anxiety4 

  • Use or increased use of substances4 

  • Trouble concentrating4 

  • Loss or decrease in interests/passions4 

  • Feeling more sad, irritable, angry, or worried than usual5 

  • Social isolation5 


Prevention is possible. There are many ways to promote youth mental health. Below is a list of evidence-based ideas for different groups to promote youth mental health. 

  • Youth

    • Ask for help1 

    • Support your peers1 

    • Get involved with mental health promotion activities in your community1 

  • Family/caregivers

    • Be a positive role model by taking care of your own mental health1 

    • Encourage youth to build healthy relationships with peers1 

    • Look for warning signs and ask for additional help when needed1 

  • Schools

    • Create a safe learning environment1 

    • Implement evidence-based programs focused on mental health1 

    • Teach staff how to recognize warning signs and connect students to resources with programs like Youth Mental Health First Aid

    • Expand evidence-based mental health resources and use trauma-informed practices1 

  • Community organizations

    • Help educate the public about mental health and combat stigma1 

    • Implement evidence-based programs that promote mental health1 

    • Elevate the voices of youth and their families with efforts like peer support groups or youth advisory councils1 


  • Treatment can include psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy), peer mentoring, medication, care coordination, or any combination of these options

Resources For Youth

Teen Line: 800-852-8336 or text “TEEN” to 839863  

  • Peer support for teens. Calls answered from 6 PM -10 PM PST and texts from 6 PM-9 PM PST 

YouthLine: 877-968-8491or text “teen2teen” to 839863 or chat at  

  • Crisis and support line that operates 24/7. Peer support is available every day from 4-10 PM PST 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 or 1-800-273-8255 or 1-888-628-9454 (Español) 

For teletypewriter (TTY) services: dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255  

  • Confidential crisis and support service that operates 24/7 

NAMI Resources:  

  • Provides a variety of resources and information including tools for how to start conversations about mental health, how to seek help, and more 

Coast to Forest Resource List:  

  • A comprehensive list of resources in Oregon, organized by county 

Youth Engaged 4 Change:  

  • Offers ways to become involved in mental health promotion and helpful toolkits 

Resources For Parents/Caregivers

What’s On Your Mind: 

  • Offers guidance on how to talk with youth about mental health, broken down by age group 

COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit:  

  • A toolkit created by the CDC with resources focused on helping families support youth during the pandemic 


  • Information about how to enroll youth in health insurance to improve access to mental health services 

Resources For Schools & Communities 

Youth Mental Health First Aid:  

  • Training on how to identify and respond to a youth mental health crisis 

National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH): 

  • Complied resources for schools including a variety of toolkits and guides 


  • Information about bullying, bullying prevention, and other related resources 

The Community Guide on Mental Health:  

  • A collection of evidence-based practices for community level mental health promotion 

Sources of Strength: 

  • An evidence-based program that uses peer support to help reduce suicide 


  1. Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory  

  2. FACT SHEET: Improving Access and Care for Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions  

  3. The State of Mental Health in America: 2021  

  4. Mental Health: Waring Signs  

  5. Youth Mental Health  

  6. Treatment Options for Youth with Mental Health Disorders  

  7. Warning Signs of Suicide  


This fact sheet was developed by the Oregon State University Coast to Forest team, a collaboration of the College of Health, OSU Center for Health Innovation and OSU Extension Service Family & Community Health program. We would like to thank the H 310 Health Field Experience students for their contributions.

For more information and to explore local resources, check out the Coast to Forest County-Specific Resource Guides.