+ Social Media And Mental Health Statistics Everyone Must Read
Social media websites are the most popular thing on the internet right now. Everyone uses them, and the opinions on whether they are good or bad are mixed. Some people experience negative effects of using social media, but what do the statistics say? How does social media affect mental health? Science gives us some very interesting but also very alarming information.
Editors picks of social media and mental health statistics:
- 72% of adults and 97% of teens use social media websites
- YouTube is by far the most used platform
- 89% of teens use social media frequently, out of which 45% use it almost constantly
- 30% of all people, 49% of adolescents believe they are addicted to social media
- Those who use social media more frequently have far more mental health issues
- Limiting the usage of social media leads to lower depression symptoms
- Victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to have suicidal tendencies
General social media statistics
We all use social media. But how many people exactly use it? PEW research center reports that a total of 72% of adults1 and 97% of teens2 use at least one social media platform. The usage is the highest among the youngest population, but is relatively high even in the eldest category. More detailed statistics can be seen in the graph below.
Dealing With Adolescent Pressures
When teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.
- Try to make new friends. Healthy relationships with peers are central to teens self-esteem and provide an important social outlet.
- Participate in sports, job, school activities or hobbies. Staying busy helps teens focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviors.
- Join organizations that offer programs for young people. Special programs geared to the needs of adolescents help develop additional interests.
- Ask a trusted adult for help. When problems are too much to handle alone, teens should not be afraid to ask for help.
But sometimes, despite everyones best efforts, teens become depressed. Many factors can contribute to depression. Studies show that some depressed people have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Also, a family history of depression may increase the risk for developing depression. Other factors that can contribute to depression are difficult life events , side-effects from some medications and negative thought patterns.
Encourage Journaling And Other Positive Coping Skills
Aside from professional treatment, the legwork of beating depression begins at home. Create and foster a supportive environment by prioritizing healthy physical and mental life choices. Help your teen eat better, get enough rest, and encourage them to exercise with you or with friends. Help them track their mental exercises and post-therapy work. Help them set goals and pick up old hobbies or discover new ones. Help them stay consistent in their coping skills.
Work with their friends to create a support system they can rely on. Many therapists also offer family therapy sessions to help educate friends and family on depression and help them become better allies for their loved one.
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Teenage Mental Health Facts
1. Physical inactivity increases the risk of depression among college students.
Researchers couldnt fully state the relationship between physical inactivity and depression as one of the teen depression facts. They couldnt build a strong connection until the pandemic forced people to stay at home.
At the onset of the pandemic, the average steps of adolescents decreased from 10,000 steps to 4,600 steps. During this time, the risk for clinical depression in the youth went up from 46% to 61%.
But, it might be worth noting that shifting socialization time and sleep patterns may have contributed to the percent increase in depression.
2. Lack of sleep increases an adolescents risk for depression.
One of the most crucial facts about teen depression lies in sleep deprivation. Most people are already aware of how much sleep can affect a persons mood, but some are unaware of how closely linked it is to depression.
Studies show that adolescents who exhibit depression symptoms get 3.5 hours less sleep than other teenagers.
Further, insomnia statistics suggest that sleep deprivation at 15 years old can increase teenagers risk of developing mental health problems.
3. Adolescents who eat junk food are more susceptible to depression.
There are several facts on teen depression that adults often overlook, and the ill effects of junk food on mental health is one of them.
Depression By Income Level
In the United States, socioeconomic status is a significant factor when it comes to mental health issues like depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , depression rates are higher among people with low incomes.
Depression rates also seem to decrease as income increases. However, that doesnt mean middle and upper-class individuals are immune to depression. Children of affluent families may even have an elevated risk of developing issues like substance use problems, depression, and anxiety. Still, while several risk factors can apply to the full range of demographics in the United States, poverty and socioeconomic factors can increase your risk of depression.
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Teenage Depression Might Be More Common Than You Think Learn About The Symptoms Causes And How You Can Help As A Parent
Its normal for teenagers to have bouts of irritability, sleepiness, and sadness. But when symptoms last for two weeks or more, it could signal depression. It’s generally stated that one in five young people will develop depression before they reach age 25, says Susan Weinstein, co-executive director of programs and operations at Families for Depression Awareness. Learn more about teen depression statistics, then understand the causes, risk factors, and how you can help as a parent.
Teen Meditation And Yoga
An increasing number of studies show that mindfulness meditation can help support teen mental health. Meditation encourages us to witness our emotions from a distance rather than getting caught up in them. A review study at Johns Hopkins found that meditation was just as effective as antidepressants in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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Covid Has Increased Depression And Uncertainty In Teens
As if the normal stressors and changes happening during your teen years werent enough, for many, the pandemic has upended any remaining sense of normalcy and routine as well.
Quarantine, loss of social interactions, illness, fear of illness, the loss of loved ones, and financial distress are only some of the compounding and life-altering stressors that teens have faced since March 2020.
These changes have had a lasting physical and psychological impact on U.S. society. According to teen depression statistics in the Stress in America 2020 survey, Generation Z teens and young adults ages 13 to 23 years old have reported increased uncertainty and depression symptoms.
For all ages, loneliness and isolation trended as the top reason for uncertainty and mental health conditions during the pandemic.
Anxiety And Depression In Children: Get The Facts
Many children have fears and worries, and may feel sad and hopeless from time to time. Strong fears may appear at different times during development. For example, toddlers are often very distressed about being away from their parents, even if they are safe and cared for. Although some fears and worries are typical in children, persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness could be due to anxiety or depression. Learn about anxiety and depression in children.
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Treating Teen Depression With A Holistic Approach
Medication is not the only approach for addressing teen depression. In fact, studies show that clinical and holistic methods can be equally or more effective than antidepressant medication.
Clinical therapy modalities: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy are proven to be effective in treating depression in adolescents.
Exercise: In one 11-year depression study of 33,908 adults, researchers found that 12 percent of depression cases could be prevented completely with only one hour of exercise each week. Moreover, another study found that only 30 minutes of exercise three times per week was as effective as antidepressant drugs.
Nutrition: Diet can be a powerful method for relieving teen depression. In a study known as the SMILES Trial , one-third of participants experienced remission from depressive symptoms after three months of a healthy diet. Good nutrition is very healing.
Mindfulness practice: A review study at Johns Hopkins found that meditation is just as effective as medication for teenage anxiety and depression. Meditation reduces depression by calming the nervous system and reducing wandering mind, which is associated with unhappiness.
Images courtesy of unsplash
Major Depression: The Impact on Overall Health
Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 1 175:28-36.
Psychosom Med. 2000 Sep-Oct 62:633-8.
Increasing Risk And Symptoms
Another increasing form of depression that is occurring amongst teens today is the issue of their own sexual identity. The world got to see this with the January 2015 suicide of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who felt rejected by her parents. She felt like they were trying to force her into conservative Christian values and would only take her to therapists that essentially told her that she needed to get right with God or prescribe medication. She felt unloved, it spiraled into depression, and she eventually stepped in front of a speeding semi-truck.
When given enough time, many teens can pull themselves away from the edge and be able to right the ship. The only problem is that there generally isnt enough time. Most teens do not spend a long time planning how theyre going to commit suicide. There is generally one minor event that becomes the catalyst for the decision to be made. A bad grade, a failure in sports, or the rejection of a parent can cause the flow of stress to flood the mind and overwhelm the teen.
This is why it is so important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and/or suicidal thoughts in teens today. Teens who feel worthless, hopeless, or guilty are at a higher risk of committing suicide. Feeling sad, having changes in eating habits, or just getting upset easily can all increase a teens risk.
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How Can You Spot Depression In A Teen
The symptoms of depression can often be difficult for parents to spot. Depression is sometimes confused with the typical feelings of puberty and teenage adjustment.
- withdrawal from friends or after-school activities
- worsening school performance
Some of these symptoms may not always be indicators of depression. Appetite changes are often normal, namely in times of growth spurts and particularly if your teen plays sports.
Still, looking out for changing behaviors in your teen can allow you to help them when theyre in need.
The Stats On Adolescent Depression In Schools
Adolescent depression in school is increasingly common. For various reasons, adolescents are at great risk for depression during high school and college.
Unfortunately, social stigma around mental illness still exists among people of all ages. As a result, high school and college students often hesitate to seek help for depression. In 2016, approximately 60 percent of teens who suffered a major depressive episode did not receive treatment of any kind.
In order to counteract adolescent depression in schools and the resulting stigma, teens and parents need to be educated about mental health. Thus, they will be better equipped to help others, offer support, and even save lives.
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How Is Teen Depression Diagnosed
There aren’t any specific medical tests that can detect depression. Health care professionals determine if a teen has depression by conducting interviews and psychological tests with the teen and their family members, teachers, and peers.
The severity of the teen depression and the risk of suicide are determined based on the assessment of these interviews. Treatment recommendations are also made based on the data collected from the interviews.
The doctor will also look for signs of potentially co-existing psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or substance abuse or screen for complex forms of depression such as bipolar disorder or psychosis. The doctor will also assess the teen for risks of suicide or homicide. Incidences of attempted suicide and self-mutilation is higher in females than males while completed suicide is higher in males. One of the most vulnerable groups for completed suicide is the 18-24 age group.
The United States Preventive Service Task Force now recommends screening for anxiety in children and adolescents ages 8 to 18 years and screening for major depressive disorder in adolescents ages 12 to 18 years.
Statistical Methods And Measurement Caveats
- The entirety of NSDUH respondents for the major depressive episode estimates is the civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 12-17 and 18 years old or older residing within the United States.
- The survey covers residents of households and persons in non-institutional group quarters .
- The survey does not cover persons who, for the entire year, had no fixed address were on active military duty or who resided in institutional group quarters .
- Some adults and adolescents in these excluded categories may have had a major depressive episode in the past year, but they are not accounted for in the NSDUH major depressive episode estimates.
- Sex was recorded by the interviewer.
Interview Response and Completion:
- In 2020, 39.6% of the selected NSDUH sample did not complete the interview.
- Reasons for non-response to interviewing include: refusal to participate respondent unavailable or no one at home and other reasons such as physical/mental incompetence or language barriers .
- Adults and adolescents with major depressive episode may disproportionately fall into these non-response categories. While NSDUH weighting includes non-response adjustments to reduce bias, these adjustments may not fully account for differential non-response by mental illness status.
Background on the 2020 NSDUH and the COVID-19 Pandemic:
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Are Depressed Teens Going Undiagnosed
The National Institutes of Mental Health estimates that 8 percent of adolescents and 2 percent of children have symptoms of depression. While nearly 3 million adolescents suffer from depression, fewer than one in five get treatment. Depressed teens usually suffer for years before they are identified.
“It’s one of the most difficult calls to make,” Tipper Gore said on Good Morning America. “Teens are already struggling with puberty, peer pressure, self-identity, separation from family. It’s hard for a parent or teacher or coach to diagnose them, but not for a health professional.”
Signs of Teen Depression
In addition to the usual symptoms of depression seen in adults, there are specific symptoms to look for in teens. The symptoms specific to teens are: vague physical complaints such as headaches, frequent absences from school or a drop in school performance, “acting out” in episodes that include anger, shouting or crying loss of interest in friends or hobbies recklessness and impulsiveness.
Gore says there is a greater awareness of the problem of teen depression.
“It has always been there, but now we are better at recognizing, diagnosing and treating it,” Gore said.
Most teen depression is likely related to lifestyle issues or family dynamics. In other cases, something might trigger a depressive episode in children who are predisposed to depression.
A Family Concern
Is It Possible To Prevent Teen Depression
Attempts at prevention of teen depression tends to address both specific and nonspecific risk factors, strengthen protective factors, and use an approach that is appropriate for the teen’s developmental level. Such programs often use cognitive behavioral and/or interpersonal approaches, as well as family based prevention strategies because research shows that these interventions are the most helpful to teens’ well-being.
The inverse of most risk factors, protective factors for teen depression include having the involvement of supportive adults, strong family and peer relationships, healthy coping skills, and skills in emotion regulation. Children and adolescents of a depressed parent tend to be more resilient when the teen is more able to focus on age-appropriate tasks in their lives and on their relationships, as well as being able to understand their parents’ illness. For depressed parents, their children seem to be more protected from developing the illness when the parent is able to demonstrate a commitment to parenting and to relationships. Youth of depressed parents have also been found to benefit from being part of a support group that uses cognitive therapy as the management approach.
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What Can Family Members And Friends Do To Help A Depressed Teen
Family members and friends are advised to seek and encourage the depressed teen to receive mental health evaluation and treatment. Family members may consult with the teen’s primary care doctor or seek mental health services by contacting one of the resources identified below. Friends of the depression sufferer sometimes think that they would be betraying their friend’s confidence by notifying the depressed teen’s parents, teachers, school counselor, or other school personnel about their friend’s troubles. The potential risk of their friend’s sadness worsening and leading to their becoming suicidal or homicidal far outweighs the risk of the depressed teen feeling betrayed.
Once the depressed youth is in treatment, family members can help encourage good mental health by gently encouraging him or her to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Examples of that include encouraging the teen to drink plenty of water, maintain a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, participate in regular exercise, and engage in appropriate stress-management activities. Friends can encourage the depressed peer to remain socially active rather than becoming isolated. Both family and friends can be helpful to the depressed teen by discouraging their loved one from using alcohol or other drugs or otherwise engaging in risky behaviors.