Beginning around 2014, those who work in the mental health community began to see alarming statistics. More and more young people between the ages of 16 and 24 stated in surveys that they were experiencing many of the symptoms of depression.
Some felt that these surveys were not an actual reflection of a growing problem. However, the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health has revealed that there is a growing mental health crisis among younger Americans.
The study was conducted among 600,000 participants. Many of the results are a wake up call to the mental health community. Among those in the 20 to 21 year old age range, the rate of depression more than doubled since 2009. There was an even steeper rise in the depression rate among those who were 16 and 17 years of age. The rate of suicide more than doubled in the last few years, and those reporting suicidal thoughts rose by more than 50 percent.
With the result of this major study, there is now little question in the mental health care community that there is a mental health crises occurring among younger people. The question that remains is what is leading to this mental health crises.
In the past, economic hardship was seen as a key factor in the rise of mental health issues. Researchers are discounting this at this time due to the fact that the United States is currently experiencing what many believe to be good economic times.
Some researchers believe that the opioid epidemic might bear some responsibility. However, other research that has been conducted points to opioids being more of a problem with those who are over the age of 25.
Mental health researchers believe that one of the major reasons for the mental health care crisis is the social lives of younger people. Young people are spending less and less time interacting with others in person as so much time is being spent on social media.
Now that the problem of the growing mental health crisis has been identified, mental health care professionals will be able to take the steps needed to treat those who are experiencing problems. Researchers will continue to look for the causes of the rise in mental health issues among younger Americans.