New study says weather disasters increase teens’ risk for mental distress

A recently released study from Drexel University analyzed survey data from 40,000 high school students and found that teenagers who live through a hurricane, flood, tornado, or other climate disaster could be up to 20 percent more likely to experience mental distress. Although the link between mental health and disasters is well-documented in adults, it’s the first study to analyze the impact on teens. In response, social media users discussing the study emphasized a need to support the mental health of teens, especially to help with persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and sleep problems. 

Recommendation: Conversations about this new teen-focused study provide an opportunity to promote teen-oriented mental health resources in your community. Public health professionals may also want to consider what resources may be available to support teen mental health after weather disasters as part of their disaster preparedness plans.