ORLANDO, Fla. – The rates of depression and suicide among teens in the U.S. have risen sharply over the last decade.
Recent studies have shown the number of teenagers and young adults with clinical depression more than doubled between 2011 and 2021.
Experts blame the combination of the pandemic and social media as the main drivers, and it appears teens’ mental health struggles even more during the school year.
It was something Cynthia Borgwing saw firsthand with her daughter, who was having trouble socializing and interacting with her classmates during her junior year of high school.
“She would call me every day to tell me she had no one to sit with at lunch,” Borgwing said. “One day she called me crying when the dean found her eating lunch by a toilet seat... and I said, ‘I can be part of the problem, or I can be part of the solution.’”
[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]
Her solution was to create an after-school program that focuses on rebuilding kids’ self-esteem. She spoke with anchor Justin Warmoth about her Lake Nona-based nonprofit, called Rebuild Yourself Inc.
“Some of the kids come here because they feel it’s a safe place,” Borgwing said. “They can be who they want, what they want to be called, and be accepted.”
Find every episode of The Weekly on YouTube:
Rebuild Yourself has ballooned in popularity over the last two years with more than 600 Orange and Osceola teens now in the program, which operates inside a soccer facility in Lake Nona.
“This came out of love for my kid and wanting to help my kid,” Borgwing said. “I knew my child came from a good home, and I said, ‘If my kid is feeling this way, there has to be others.’ And I was right.”
For more information on her nonprofit, click here.
Watch the full interview in the video player above.
You can listen to every episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate in the media player below: