Mental health issues in young people

Why are more and more young people suffering from mental health problems?

The past few years since the pandemic have seen a dramatic increase in symptoms of depression and diagnosable mental health conditions among young people.

In addition to the impact of the pandemic on young people at a critical time in their development, there are many other influencing factors: “the cost of living crisis, the climate crisis, political and overseas conflicts, the technological revolution that has made young people more aware of instability, academic pressures, money worries, and a mental health system that is unable to cope with the demand”.

Personal circumstances must also be taken into account: “Relationship breakdowns, family breakdowns, abuse, bullying and other forms of trauma can have a profound impact on a young person’s journey to adulthood”.

Research has shown that the advent of social media has dramatically altered mental health, with a disproportionate impact on young women. Constant contact and exposure to carefully curated realities on social platforms leads to elevated levels of stress, which can have a detrimental effect on brain development.

Talking about mental health helps to destigmatise it and make people feel like they can seek support, which is positive, but there’s a lot of structural factors that have made it very difficult for young people, especially in the last couple of years now, so you can’t actually attribute the increase in demand just to de-stigmatisation and things like that. Whatever is driving the increase in demand for support and the impact it’s having on young people, it’s not going to go away and it’s going to get worse. If we’re focussing on ideas like that, it’s that it’s just because we’re talking about it more, and not getting to the point. What really needs to happen is to address what’s really going on in young people’s lives and find solutions, rather than trying to explain it away by de-stigmatising it. That needs to be more of a concern!

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