Sorry JW, but you're looking through the wrong end of the telescope here.
"44% of high school students feel persistent sadness or hopelessness"
So, have you talked with current high school students?
That only 44% feel persistent sadness or hopelessness tells me that at least another 40% have a vastly inflated opinion of themselves and their abilities.
They can't read (or write) a note in cursive. They can't tell time on a dial-face timepiece. They don't know their own phone number. They can't make exact change for a $10 order without taking off their shoes, and calling two of their lifelines.
For F--K SAKE man, I see this Every. Single. Day!
This is simple sh*t we were taught to do by first grade, and these are high school juniors and seniors. Or for that matter, freshmen and sophomores in college, AKA 13th and 14th grade.
They can't write a book report, can't construct a coherent paragraph, can't multiply to 12x12 without a TI-84 and seven lectures on higher mathematics, and they treat the ability to sit through a 90-minute movie without talking or checking their phones like it's a freaking Jedi Masterclass.
They can tell you what Taylor Swift wore to the Video Music Awards, but they couldn't pick Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, or the Parthenon out of a line-up.
They can't put any three basic major historical events in order, find any city, state, or country on a globe (even if you spot them a hint of which continent it's on), or in most cases, find their own asses with both hands, an anatomical chart, and a rear-view mirror.
If you stranded them 5 miles into the desert between a rotary dial phonebooth and a stack of change, and a gassed-up car with a stick shift and the key in the ignition, 99% of them would die right there of starvation and exposure.
They should all be flunked back to kindergarten at their high school graduations, and then retry each level until they attain mastery at an 80% score. About 1% would be done in a week. For the rest, they'd be there seven days a week from 6AM to noon. Then they'd be given not a diploma, but a pair of stout leather work gloves, to dig ditches, shovel shit, and sort garbage at the dump from noon until 8PM, to earn room and board - in a tent, fed the same menu prison inmates get - to take them permanently out of mommy and daddy's tender embraces. No cell phones. No calculators. For anyone not advancing any grade level after two tries, the daily beatings would commence. Every fall they'd replace migrant workers picking vegetables in the fields until they graduated fair and square. In the winter they'd shovel snow on the roads by hand, and in summer they'd be spreading tar and filling potholes, until they finally graduated. Then and only then would they be granted the full privileges of citizenship. They could escape only upon graduation, or by enlistment in the military (the Air Force wouldn't count, and they don't take non-h.s. grads anyways). Those choosing the military option would not be allowed out of the military until they'd earned at least a GED.
When they finally graduated from one or the other for real, they'd have something about which to feel happy and proud, probably for the first time in their lives. Universities and community colleges would cease to offer remedial primary and secondary school education, and go back to teaching actual college subjects full-time.
Until something close to that happens, most high school students should be told they're the exact idiots they are 24/7/365 until they can disprove it, with a properly-footnoted 20-page hand-written research paper, and deliver a defense of that thesis before the faculty of the local high school.
The numbers you speak of come from the most mollycoddled bunch of unskilled lackwits in the history of the world. (We can talk about the mass floggings and/or tar-and-featherings of the teachers and administrators who helped create them at some point in the future.)
Fans of science fiction know these kids as H.G. Wells' Eloi.
Anything which makes them feel like exactly the oxygen thieves they are is a good thing.
Anything which whips and beats them towards the finish line of improving that situation and becoming functional human beings is even better.
Dept. Of We Told You So: RTWT It isn't hard to be less of a frothing lunatic than Ann Barnhardt (the bulging eyes should be a cluebat there) but there's not a single thing in what she says in this piece we can disagree with.