Youth now have more mental health issues

I saw this article and thought it was very interesting.  Of course, youth workers (volunteer and paid) have noticed for years that depression, anxiety, etc, have seemed to be happening more and more in the teens that we work with.  It’s sad that these things seem to be on the rise, especially given that we have more ability to detect and help than we have ever had before!  I thought it was particularly interesting that one of the factors they identified in this study was actually the amount of things that we have now and all of the external pressures that are contributing to kids’ emotional issues.  What do you think?  Have you noticed this trend or is this news to you?  Here’s the first part of the article (find the rest of it here):

Study: Youth now have more mental health issues

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer

A new study has found that five times as many high school and college students are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues as youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era.

The findings, culled from responses to a popular psychological questionnaire used as far back as 1938, confirm what counselors on campuses nationwide have long suspected as more students struggle with the stresses of school and life in general.

“It’s another piece of the puzzle — that yes, this does seem to be a problem, that there are more young people who report anxiety and depression,” says Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor and the study’s lead author. “The next question is: What do we do about it?”

Though the study, released Monday, does not provide a definitive correlation, Twenge and mental health professionals speculate that a popular culture increasingly focused on the external — from wealth to looks and status — has contributed to the uptick in mental health issues.

5 thoughts on “Youth now have more mental health issues

  1. Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for posting this! As a counselor who works with many young people I have seen this to be true. I think the reasons for the increase in MH problems is more complex than a pop culture focused on externals, but that is certainly a contributing factor. I would add breakdown of the family, which leads to a growing number of isolated young people within their family system. Thanks again!


  2. Yeah, I would agree it's not all because of that one issue, but I think it's a big part of it. More so because it disconnects people from the deeper relationships that we're wired to need – we're a culture with more 'friends' and connections than ever before, but without the depth that people used to have in their relationships.


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