5 Words

United Way of McLean County has been talking to young people. Over the last year, we’ve been asking them: “use 5 words to describe our community” The word cloud above represents their view. The bigger the word, the more times it came up.

Why is this important?

Our community has been experiencing more violence and depression among our adolescents.

United Way has been looking into this serious issue…and here’s what we’ve found.

Behavioral Health - Our Teenagers are Struggling


Illinois Youth Survey

Each year, the Illinois Department of Human Services conducts the Illinois Youth Survey. In the most recent survey, more than 3,200 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade in McLean County were surveyed. This represents nearly 65% of public school students in McLean County.

The results are eye-opening.

Thoughts of Suicide

  • Over 300 students in 10th and 12th grade have “seriously considered attempting suicide

    • This represents nearly 17% of those surveyed

Debilitating Sadness

Additionally, mental health is causing serious disruptions for our students as evidenced by the graph below:

  • Over 1,000 students of the 8th, 10th, and 12th grade expressed such debilitating feelings of depression or sadness every day for more than 2 weeks that caused them to stop participating in their normal, daily activities

    • This represents nearly 1/3