Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being Dashboard

As part of our goal to strategically use data, we have compiled a dashboard of existing data about the mental health and well-being of County children and families. The dashboard relies primarily on data that is publicly available, drawing on a variety of local, state, and national data sources. The information is intended to provide a snapshot of available data, for use in monitoring trends and informing service and system reform efforts. In addition to presenting key data, each summary includes recommended resources for learning more about the topic and some questions, designed to encourage reflection regarding the findings and strategies that can be used to take action in the community.

 

A complete list of all dashboard indicators can be found here. The dashboard indicators have been divided into the following series of topic briefs:

Economic well-being

Mental health

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Community engagement

Economic Well-Being

Economic well-being has important connections to children’s mental health. Children growing up in poverty experience higher levels of stress, trauma, and stigma. They also may be more likely to experience poor nutrition and unsafe living environments. These challenges increase the risk of a variety of both physical and mental health issues, with the higher risk persisting into adulthood. There are dramatic disparities in childhood poverty by race/ethnicity, which contributes to health inequities throughout the lifespan.

Economic well-being indicators tracked by the collaborative:

  1. Percentage of people under 18 living in poverty (Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates);
  2. Percentage of children enrolled in public schools that are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (National Center for Education Statistics);
  3. Percentage of households that spend 50% or more of their household income on housing (American Community Survey, 5-year estimates); and
  4. Percentage of 9th grade students reporting that in the past 12 months they have stayed in a shelter, somewhere not intended as a place to live, or someone else’s home because they had no other place to stay (Minnesota Student Survey).

Mental Health

Nationally, approximately one in five children and adolescents experience significant mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This overall incidence rate masks significant variation, which tends to appear on the basis of gender, race/ethnicity, and other factors. Many services and supports are available to help children experiencing mental health challenges. Left unaddressed, these issues can contribute to long-term difficulties at home, in school, and in forming healthy relationships.

Mental health indicators tracked by the collaborative:

  1. Percentage of 9th grade students reporting long-term mental health, behavioral, or emotional problems (Minnesota Student Survey);
  2. Percentage of 9th grade students indicating that they have seriously considered attempting suicide at least once in the last 12 months (Minnesota Student Survey);
  3. Percentage of parents who report that mental or emotional difficulties kept their child from doing his or her usual school or daily activities at least “somewhat” in the past month (Hennepin County SHAPE survey);
  4. Percentage of parents reporting that their child has long-term mental health, behavioral, or emotional problems (Hennepin County SHAPE survey); and
  5. Percentage of parents reporting that a doctor, teacher, or school counselor told them that their child needed professional help for emotional or behavioral problems in the past 12 months (Hennepin County SHAPE survey).

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood. Research has found that these experiences can have a profound impact on health, mental health, and well-being throughout the lifespan. To promote positive mental health for youth, it is important to focus on both preventing the incidence of adverse childhood experiences and mitigating their potentially negative impact.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) indicators tracked by the collaborative:

  1. Percentage of 9th grade students reporting at least three ACEs (ACE score-short) (Minnesota Student Survey);
  2. Percentage of 9th grade students who reported that a parent or guardian had been in jail or prison (Minnesota Student Survey);
  3. Percentage of 9th grade students reporting that they live with anyone who drinks too much alcohol (Minnesota Student Survey); and
  4. Percentage of 9th grade students reporting that they live with someone who is depressed or has other mental health issues (Minnesota Student Survey).

Community Engagement

Community engagement addresses the extent to which youth are positively connected to school, community activities, and supportive adults. Positive engagement provides significant benefits for youth development. Being connected and engaged to the community also promotes youth resilience, helping to mitigate the impacts of stress and other challenges and strengthen youth mental health.

Community Engagement indicators tracked by the collaborative:

  1. High school graduation rate (percentage of 9th grade students who graduate in four years)  (Minnesota Department of Education)
  2. Percentage of  9th grade students who care about doing well in school at least “most of the time” (Minnesota Student Survey)
  3. Percentage of teens and young adults (ages 16-19) who are neither working nor in school (“disconnected youth”) (American Community Survey, 5-year estimates)
  4. Percentage of parents who agree that at least one other adult in their child’s school, neighborhood, or community knows their child well and can be relied on for advice or guidance (Hennepin County SHAPE survey)
  5. Percentage of parents who report that their child (ages 6-17) engages in at least one out-of-school activity at least once per week (Hennepin County SHAPE survey)
  6. Percentage of 9th grade students who report that their school or community offers a variety of programs for people their age to participate in outside of the regular school day (Minnesota Student Survey)

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