FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana is known for many things: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Garfield, and a whole lot of corn. Monday, some new findings from the 2015 “Kids Count” study were released and a lot of it is nothing to be proud of. One of the most shocking findings deals with Hoosier teens and suicide. The other: Indiana comes in second in the nation for having the most parents who have served hard time.
“It was interesting to us as we shared this finding with different folks in law enforcement that they were surprised by it as well,” Indiana Youth Institute President and CEO Bill Stanczykiewicz said.
Indiana Youth Institute President and CEO Bill Stanczykiewicz says according to the agency’s new “Kids Count” report, 11 percent of Hoosier parents have been behind bars. Indiana ranks number two behind Kentucky. Oklahoma, Ohio, and Michigan are also in the top five.
“Unfortunately we don’t have a reason why Indiana’s rate is so much higher compared to the rest of the country. Our friends in law enforcement have speculated that a lot of folks are being incarcerated on drug offenses. It could have to do with the way Indiana is wrestling with the challenges related to meth.
Indiana ranks first when it comes to the number of teens considering suicide. The state ranks second when it comes to teens who have attempted suicide.
“You need to be watching their behaviors. When kids are just overly down for long periods of time… really when they are blue and depressed for weeks at a time.”
Other health concerns for teens that climbed from last year – the use of e-cigarettes. Some contain nicotine. That’s why they’re banned for those under 18 in Indiana. Still, e-cigarette use among Hoosier teens went up by about 20 percent.
“It just makes it look cool and hip and you are very popular if you are using an e-cigarette. The kids hear about the flavors and it’s fruit and it’s bubblegum and it’s chocolate and it’t mint and gosh it is at the mall in the kiosk. It’s so easy to obtain online. That’s why there’s this fear that more and more kids are going to obtain this product.”