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The state of American’s mental health has been overlooked amid a pandemic and social unrest. The COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world and put a pause on everything. The virus paused work, the economy, transportation, events, human interaction, and more.
For many, mental health concerns are include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and varying levels of depression, the most common. However, depression is the leading mental health concern among 14-to-60-year-olds.
There are approximately 3 million cases of depression reported in the United States annually. The numbers are identical for anxiety and PTSD. These numbers indicate most people may suffer from all three once or sometime throughout their lives.
A significant mental health topic is suicide. Statically, there is one suicide attempt every 40 seconds. For many, it is a lack of a support system. For some, it is clinical depression weighing them down or outside influences that drastically affect their lives, leaving trauma.
In this day and age, the youth are most affected by these three mental health issues. As a teen, there is a lot of angst and social anxiety involved while in school. Hierarchies of popularity, social groups, and seeking acceptance are problems young teens fight with daily during school. Since they spend most of their time in school, the issues can dominate their overall mental health wellness.
Due to changing dynamics such as staying in school longer and delaying marriage and parenthood, social scientists have redefined adolescence to ages of 10 to 24 instead of 14-19 as previously thought. As a result, youth are prone to the three major mental health disorders during their pubescent years. In addition, they have high levels of hormones coursing through their bodies and brains during this time of their lives that can have lasting effects on their cognitive, physical, and psychosocial growth.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 3.8 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 have had at least one major depressive episode, which represents is 15.7% of the U.S. population for that age group. Statistics also show that major depressive episodes are higher in females at 23.0% compared to 8.8% for males. They also found that a major depressive episode is the highest among adolescents with two or more parents.
School life plays a pivotal factor in the development of the youth. A youth’s school is consistent, and students have to show up five days a week; consequently, they spend more time around their peers than family. That being the case, their school can become a second home.
However, if a teenager does not feel welcome at school, they bring that sadness and anxiety home, tainting both environments for the student. It can become dangerous to be alone and be in one’s own head in this case. The situation can become a pool of tension that drowns them emotionally. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to their actions and offer supportive encouragement. Let them share their thoughts, so the problem does not become worse.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) offers a hotline where people can access information on local mental health programs or talk with a trained volunteer at any time. The telephone number is 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or text “NAMI” to 741741.
Written by Mikal Eggleston
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
BBC: Adolescence now lasts from 10 to 24; by Katie Silver
NIMH: Anxiety Disorders
NIMH: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Anxiety & Depression Association of America: Facts and Statistics
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of ILO Asia -Pacific’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of City of Minneapolis Archives’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inst Image Courtesy of Cathy Milne-Ware’s Flickr Page – Public Domain License