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Study Finds 1 in 3 California Youth Lack Reliable Access to Mental Health Resources

Since launching in 2011, Lady Gaga’s  Born This Way Foundation has been on a mission to educate the world on mental health, and encourage young people to speak out and get help.

In May 2019, the Born This Way Foundation and California’s Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) released California Youth Mental Health: Understanding Resource Availability and Preferences, a survey of nearly 500 California youth ages 13 to 24.

The survey explored how youth view their own mental wellness, their access to key mental health resources and innovations and what they want those resources to look like.

Youth Survey Results

  • Most young people in California want help with their mental health, but nearly half aren’t sure where to go;
  • Almost a third say they lack reliable access to resources to support their mental wellness or address a mental health issue and are even less likely to say they have the resources to deal with many serious but common situations;
  • Young people are more likely to get help if it was free, easy to get to, and didn’t involve notifying their parents or caregivers;
  • While young people struggle to access mental health resources, they are open to using a wide variety of them and they want to learn skills to support their mental wellness.

Experts say the disconnect is due to a lack of resources. Many schools have too few counselors for too many students. Even when the counselor is in, students may not know there are services available or may be too embarrassed to get help.

The findings could give school districts and community youth centers more insight on what teens are dealing with, and how to connect them to the mental health resources and services they need.