DOVER-FOXCROFT — Maine’s youth are feeling the effects of the pandemic, it has taken a toll on their mental health.
Kini-Ana Tinkham, executive director of Maine Resilience Building Network said, “41% of middle schoolers and 43% of high school students felt like they did not matter in their community.”
Tinkham said these statistics are very concerning.
Every other year in participating districts the state of Maine uses questions or mattering– on participants feeling of being seen, heard, and valued– to monitor well-being in the Maine integrated youth health survey.
“How can the whole community really kind of embrace mattering and improve the outcome and outlook of youth to report that they do feel like they matter,” said Tinkham.
Shannon Fowles with Mayo Regional Hospital said the community is an important factor in improving that especially in a rural area like Dover-Foxcroft.
“Students have needed to access education and social activities virtually and I think they’re feeling a sense of isolation,” said Fowles.
“I would encourage them to take that leap to get involved cause we as adults don’t know their wishes or their needs until we build relationships with them and have the conversations with them,” she said.
Fowles and Tinkham work together to understand how to effectively bring a better future to Maine’s youth.
“We will actually be interviewing youth and hearing from them on what it means to matter and then be able to develop messaging that we can give back to our communities to make an impact.”
Organization leaders are working to get funds to create transportation and recreation centers for several communities.