I was like you. I was so involved with my life that I didn’t know. I didn’t know that 1.7 million US teenagers are currently living in poverty: Mental health, Crime, Academic problems, and Teen pregnancies are just a few of the many problems poverty drops upon a teen.
Mental health and poverty are closely linked. In fact, common mental health disorders are twice as frequent among the poor. Poverty-stricken teenagers are vulnerable because their lives are filled with emotional and financial instability.
For these teens, Crime seems like an easy alternative. Most teens living in poverty will be arrested by the time they’re 22 years old. Poverties.org states, “Where you find poverty is also where you find crime.” But why? Teens from low-income families are easily persuaded, and they are constantly looking for a way to gain support—may it be emotional, financial, or social.
How is a teen, who isn’t even guaranteed a warm meal at night, capable of balancing their work stresses with their academic stresses? They can’t. This is why these teenagers are ranking in the 19th percentile on assessments.
The United States has the highest percentage of teens living in poverty. We also have the highest proportion of unwed teen mothers. The facts are simple. A teen mother can’t thrive financially in our world today no matter how many obstacles she overcomes.
It’s up to us. Together, we can make a difference. We can change the statistics. Use your voice to make a change in your community. I didn’t know, but now I do, and, hopefully, you now know too!