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College releases major study on girls in Indiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A landmark study on what it's like to be a young girl growing up in Indiana was released by Saint Mary's College Thursday. One of the most shocking results of the study is how many young girls suffer from low self esteem and depression.

A local 16-year-old named Tanya spoke about what she has struggled with, but didn't want to be identified.

"I am kind of quiet so I wanted to be louder, and I wanted to be shorter than I really am," said Tanya.

Tanya says she has struggled with low self-esteem and depression her entire life.

"I wanted to be somebody else," said Tanya.

Saint Mary's College released the results of a study that looked at young girls all across Indiana. That study, "The status of girls in Indiana 2013," shows Tanya's story is not unusual.

"Really the rates of depression in girls that are highlighted in this report, it's a really sad commentary. You don't want to think that a third of the girls that are young teenagers everyday feeling bad and being depressed," said Linda Baechle, YWCA North Central Indiana.

Tanya says she just wants to be accepted for who she is.

"Like you can only be you, like I am not ugly or nothing like that. You just got to be you, like how God made you," said Tanya.

Researchers say they hope the study's findings will help parents and community leaders reach out more effectively to young girls to help them grow into more confident young women. 

"I hope girls know that there is help available before it changes the course of their life. So many things that are highlighted in the report are things that are either risky behaviors resulting from low self esteem or are other unhealthy coping mechanisms," said Baechle.

Baechle says she hopes that these results will serve as a wake-up call  so that we can develop programs to help young girls grow up feeling safer and more confident. 

Click here to download the report

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