Nearly 1 out of 3 Young People Have Almost Nobody to Turn To

 In Research

One of the most astonishing statistics from our report is that nearly 1/3 of young people say they have 1 or fewer adults in their life they feel they can turn to if they need to talk. This is heartbreaking and calls for immediate action. 

Adults continue to be the most important resource for young people as they try to navigate life’s most compelling and challenging questions. Moreover, young people who are connected to adults are much more likely to thrive. 

Young people with adult mentors feel less lonely. Unfortunately, nearly one in ten young people do not have an adult mentor at all and 23% only have one adult in their life they can talk to, including their parents. Even just one adult connection cuts the chances of severe loneliness and isolation in half for young people. Our interviewees also reported that the groups they felt where they belonged the most were ones where they had a great relationship with an adult who cared about them. 

Those senses of connection and belonging are critical to a person’s well-being and a lifeline when times get tough. 

Ellie Disselkoen, a student at Wheaton University, Wheaton, ILL, has found strong adult support through participating in CrossFit: 

The way CrossFit has been unique is it’s usually the same coach every time. The coach gets to know you, is supportive of your goals and what you want to accomplish. It’s a mentorship, and the coach is your mentor, [attending to members’] physical side, mental side, emotional side. If you’ve had a bad day, the coach asks, ‘What’s going on? Have you had a rough week?’ 

Ellie went on to explain how that relationship formed a foundation that helped get her through some tough times. 

As you go about your day, ask yourself, what young person needs me to check in today? Remember, all it takes is one caring adult.   

How do we help young people find a place to belong—where they are noticed, named, and known?

Get the new national research report examining the landscape of loneliness specific to 13-to-25-year-olds. Belonging: Reconnecting America’s Loneliest Generation

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