Rising Teen Depression Rates
Mental health is worsening among American teens, creating a national health issue we can’t afford to ignore. According to data from the CDC, the next generation of U.S. adults is more emotionally vulnerable than the generational cohorts that came before them, with 44% of teens reporting depression symptoms like persistent hopelessness in a 2021 survey. What are some factors contributing to this problem?
Political and Environmental Uncertainty
While history is full of upheavals and instability, the past two decades have been a uniquely fraught time in America. Today’s adolescents have grown up in an increasingly divided nation with a stark split between political ideologies. They are also more likely to witness traumatic events like gun violence and police abuse of authority than previous generations.
Teenagers are coming of age during two global crises that represent a severe threat to their future well-being – climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. American political leaders have shown little to no appetite for tackling either issue with the compassionate and coherent approach they deserve, allowing them to worsen virtually unchecked. Adolescents who are aware of these threats may feel a sense of anxiety or impending doom when they realize they will inherit the consequences.
Social Media Use Has Replaced Other Activities
The widespread use of social media is another issue adversely affecting teens’ mental health. Social media platforms provide a valuable outlet for connection and self-expression – especially for teens who get marginalized or bullied in the real world. However, teenagers who become too dependent on social media may use their favorite apps to replace beneficial activities like joining extracurricular clubs at school.
On social media, it is almost impossible to ignore upsetting or frightening news about the world, which can aggravate mental health problems like depression and anxiety. For some teenagers who are already struggling with low self-esteem, platforms like Instagram can present them with unrealistic or unattainable ideals. Trying to emulate these is ultimately an exercise in self-defeat, which can leave adolescents feeling more depressed and worthless than ever.
Modern Parenting May Create More Anxiety Among Teens
Affluent and upper-middle-class parents have taken a far different approach to raising children than past generations. Hands-on parenting has largely replaced the free-range mindset of the past. As a result, young children today rarely get a chance to enjoy unsupervised, unstructured play. But how can they grow up building their confidence and social skills if adults monitor their activities 24/7?
Children raised with the so-called “helicopter” and “lawnmower” parenting styles rarely face any adversity, struggles or failures, because their parents have gone to extremes to shield them. However, parents who attempt to insulate kids from any stress or hardship may unintentionally transfer anxiety to their growing children. Instead, exposing children to some degree of challenge is beneficial in helping them learn that real life is not always accommodating or comfortable.
Find a Miami Therapist Today
R&A Therapeutic Partners offers personalized programs for adolescents and adults who are struggling with issues like substance abuse, anxiety and depression. During psychotherapy, one of our experienced counselors will equip you to cope with life’s challenges more constructively, providing a comfortable, nonjudgmental environment to tackle the stressors that contribute to your problems.
To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one heal and live a healthier, happier life, reach out to us today.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.