Image via WikipediaIn the past year, more than 2 million teens have suffered a major bout with depression. The average shows that 8.5% of Tweens and teens between the ages of 12 and 17 mentioned having a major depressive episode; the differences however, show 12.7% of girls and 4.6% of boys. Depression is leading cause of suicide, the third leading cause of death for 15 - 24yo in the US.
Research has shown more than 67,700 Tweens and teens aged 12 to 17 answered questions pertaining to mood and depression, including how the depression affected their lives in reference to family, friends, school and other activities. Those who reports bouts of depression, the most common symptoms included lack of sleep, energy, concentration or self-image.
What has brought this surge in depression among these “kids?” There are many theories, if you ask 100 people you will probably get 100 different answers. My thoughts are this……times have changed. Now that statement makes me feel old, but it’s true. The world has changed and our kids are facing things we may have never dreamed of. Peer pressure is now more than skipping school, it’s drinking, sex, drugs, and violence. It seems that many times they have no conscience, no idea of the repercussions – and if they are caught “it’s wasn’t their fault, (insert a number of reasons)”
Today, many kids are left home alone, live with parents who are addicts, abusive or just never there. In turn, they go to friends or find those who “are like them,” and with no real direction find themselves in situations that instead of bringing fun and excitement, instead results in depression, addiction and the idea that life is hopeless.
Another reality is that kids are doing too much, or are expected to do too much. Just as there are kids who are abused and neglected, there are those who are pushed to be better than everyone else, to live up to parent’s unrealistic expectations, or become a better athlete or scholar than their siblings. These things can bring on depression and the feelings of inadequacy, and the desire to just “get away.”
There is no one reason for the depression and hopelessness our kids feel. Watch TV and they see death and destruction, go to school and they see fights and abuse, go home and it’s much of the same.