The State of Mental Health

It’s no secret that teens are struggling.  But the CDC report highlighted just how steep and jarring their decline has been, especially among teenage girls.

Nearly 60 percent of teen girls in the U.S. reported feeling persistently sad and hopeless in 2021- almost double the numbers reported by teen boys and the highest levels of distress reported since 2011.

1 in 3 teen girls had seriously considered suicide.

1 in 5 experienced sexual violence in the previous year

22 percent of LGBTQ+ youth had attempted suicide in the previous year.

46 percent of youth ages 18-24 reported being emotionally distressed.

The rise in teens’ depression correlates with the rise of social media, which arguably fosters envy, anxiety and stress by design and girls appear more vulnerable than boys to its negative emotional effects.

All this adds up to the possibility that youths are more emotionally fragile than prior generations.  This is not to be confused with weak character.  Rather, a sense of hopelessness which many teens arguably feel, is closely tied to lower resilience. Social connectedness-the kind undermined by social media and widespread cultural upheaval, is a strong predictor of resilience; loneliness undermines it.

Psychology Today; May/June 2023


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