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Study tallies high risks for Indiana’s youth

– Indiana youths are more likely than others throughout the country to have been bullied, attempted suicide, suffered an overdose or taken diet pills.

That’s according to a new mental health survey released by the Lutheran Foundation on Thursday.

The survey, which looked at myriad mental health issues facing all ages and people, looked at 11 counties in northeast Indiana and was conducted by Praxis Strategies & Solutions.

Although the survey focused not just on youths, its authors uncovered telling risks that kids and teens in the area and the state are facing.

“Youths in Indiana are just a high-risk population. Period. End of sentence,” said Dennis Banas, president and CEO at Praxis, who spoke to a crowd while presenting his company’s findings Thursday.

The findings on youths were gleaned from a study conducted in 2011 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the report.

During his presentation, Banas said 29 percent of youths surveyed felt helpless and 19 percent had seriously contemplated suicide.

Suicide is also what superintendents feared the most at schools, he said.

“Their fear is it will mushroom into a cluster and it will get out of control,” Banas said.

The report also focused on barriers faced by anyone with a mental illness, including fear of admitting to others they may need help or even trouble trying to get time off work to see a psychiatrist.

Banas said it takes a calculated effort by many people and organizations to address a region’s mental health problems.