It's thought the increased use of social media and less face-to-face interactions could be the cause of higher depression cases in young adults.
A new study has found depression is rising significantly among young adults and teenagers and girls, in particular, are suffering the most.
The research used survey data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health and found for children aged between 12 and 17, the amount of depression reported has increased from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014. It also showed an almost 1 percent rise in depression amongst 18 year olds.
In addition to these findings, the team found that there isn’t an increase in seeking help and advice from mental health organizations to go with the increase in depression meaning many more young adults are suffering in silence or self-medicating.
“We already know that teens have much more depression than is currently being recognized or treated,” said Dr. Anne Glowinski, a child psychiatry researcher at Washington University in St. Louis who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “What this study adds is that rates of youth depression have significantly increased in the last decade and that the proportion of recognized/treated young people appears unchanged despite efforts to encourage pediatricians to focus on suicide prevention which includes more recognition and treatment of youth depression.”
The study also found 1 in 11 teenagers have suffered from a major bout of depression in the last year. The reasons why this is, isn’t exactly clear but it’s thought that less face-to-face interactions due to more smartphone and social media use since 2005 could be to blame. Social media also opens up the doors to more exposure to cyberbullying amongst peers.
Girls saw the highest increase in depressive episodes compared to boys, from 13 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2014. Boys saw a prevalence rise from 4 percent to 6 percent. It’s thought this is because girls are more prone to depression and negative emotions.
Either way, the study has highlighted that more needs to be to tackle to ongoing rise of mental health issues in young people.
Details of the study were published in the journal American Academy of Pediatrics.