Did you know that depression and anxiety among young people has been rising every year for the past 50 years?
Some experts posit that five to eight times as many young people suffer from depression and anxiety now as opposed to “the good old days.”
I was surprised to learn that some of the lowest rates of depression among young people were during the Great Depression, World War II, The Cold War, and even during riots during the 1960s and 1970s.
I extrapolate from that fact that during times of war and duress, young people felt a sense of purpose and probably didn’t have much down time to even feel depressed or anxious. Or maybe more were depressed but because of the times, it wasn’t socially accepted to admit.
So why do you think so many of our young people are afflicted with depression and anxiety?
Many experts in the mental health field younger people often feel as if they are victims and consequently feel as if they have no control over their lives.
I also think social media plays a big role in contributing to depression.
I was thinking back to being in third grade. We moved from New Jersey back to the south — Birmingham, to be exact. For quite a while, the other kids made fun of me. They made fun of my accent, the way I dressed, everything. It was terrible.
As bad as it was, at least when I got home from school there was no more bullying. Nowadays, kids who are on social media, and most are, there is almost no escaping potential bullies. Add to that the amount of personal information that is shared — everybody’s life looks fantastic.
I do read and hear things about and from young people that are alarming. One of my young friends said she periodically jumps off social media because it depresses her. She is in her late-20s and has a great job. Still, she said it seems as if everybody else has a better, more exciting life.
Another theory I have is that young children are not playing outside enough. This goes along with being on social media and devices too much in general.
Young children need to be outside, running around more, not cooped up in the house with their eyes glued to so many screens.
In addition, a lot of children are in too many activities. Kids, young people and even adults, need down time.
I remember when our four children were young, we had a rule that they could only do one extracurricular activity or sport at one time. Sometimes they overlapped as far as seasons go, but we tried to stick to this rule so nobody got overwhelmed with things after school and on the weekends.
Of course, one of the main things I feel is needed is more family time. How many times do you see families having lunch or dinner together and everybody is looking at their cell phones?
I see this with couples as well — but that is for another discussion. As parents, we need to make sure we are the ones raising our children. We need to guard against depending on social media, the schools, or pop culture to bring up our kids.
I think all “older” people in society tend to worry about young people, so I suppose I am no different.
But with these latest studies and statistics about depression and anxiety with our youth, we all need to be on high alert for what we can do to help.
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.