According to a report by health insurance company BlueCross BlueShield, depression diagnoses among its 41 million insured customers increased by 33% in only three years, from 2013 to 2016. What is even more concerning is that depression diagnoses have increased by 63% in people aged 12-17. Despite the sharp increase in recent years, depression has been steadily rising in the U.S. since the mid-1930s.
It comes as no surprise that teens are more vulnerable to the effects of depression given their general lack of life experience. However, with the number of young people committing suicide increasing every year, it is important that parents keep an eye out and help their teens. Even if they don’t seem to be depressed or have signs of dysfunction. Many teens simply go through the motions of daily life often trying to hide or downplay any sign of perceived weakness, embarrassed to ask for help for fear that they may look weak or stand out.
It is essential to teach children to overcome this stigma regarding seeking treatment for mental health. One of the best ways to achieve this is to simply surround your children with compassion and support. People who are depressed tend to isolate themselves from the rest of society and activities, so it’s important that they always have someone who they can genuinely trust with their personal information. It sounds simple, but this is essential in preventing your teen from feeling hopeless.
The good news is that, considering the accelerated rate of diagnoses, the reluctance to seek treatment has seemingly decreased. The growth in diagnoses could signify that depression itself is growing, but it’s more likely that people are actually getting the help they need. Still, the need to monitor and support your children is more prominent than ever in the modern-day world, where young people are increasingly vulnerable, thanks to the advent of potentially harmful tech such as social media.
Depression, loneliness, and anxiety are a few of the many tolls that social media have on your health. In addition to giving emotional support, parents should be monitoring their children’s social media use. Not only what they post and see, but also how much time they spend on the platforms. That’s not to say that complete abstinence from social media is the answer, because it isn’t – nor is it realistic. Rather, making it a healthy balanced activity in conjunction with other pursuits is ideal. Parents should try and achieve a balance of support and monitoring when dealing with adolescent depression.
by Daniel Gatalica