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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

This school season, know warning signs of youth mental distress

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023   

Data from last year show a growing percentage of Kentucky children and teens report struggling with depression or anxiety, largely driven by social media use. A new online toolkit from Mental Health America aims to provide information, tips and resources for young people, caregivers and school personnel on how to protect kids' mental health in a digital world.

Marcie Timmerman, Mental Health America Kentucky's executive director, said having resources to spot early warning signs can help families get off to a good start this school year, when many households are adjusting to new patterns and habits.

"I think one of the biggest early warning signs, especially related to social media use, is that they suddenly stop wanting to use it, or they are on it all the time," she explained. "There's an extreme change in their behavior and maybe their attitude as well toward the media platform."

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends screening for anxiety in children and adolescents ages 8 to 18 years, even if they are not showing recognized signs or symptoms of anxiety. Over the past decade, feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness, along with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, increased by about 40% among young people, according to the CDC.

Hannah Hallen, a Kentucky college student and mental-health advocate, believes traditional approaches to mental health have not kept up with the needs of her generation.

"I feel like they are trying their best with potentially old resources or things that used to work," she said. "But with the changes in this generation that are so niche to this era, there are a lot of differences."

In addition to social media, more young people report feeling distressed about mass shootings, climate change, and the growing political divide.


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