Depression rates in US adolescents are rising
A national survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 8.2% of young people ages 12 to 17 were depressed in 2011. By 2014, the rate had jumped to 11.4%. This signifies an almost 40% increase in 3 years.
Depression among youth is a serious problem that is becoming more widespread,” the report says.
Another survey found that the number of teens reporting a major depressive episode in a 12-month period increased from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.3% in 2014. The rate was higher for teen girls – increasing from 13.1% in 2004 to 17.3% in 2014.
Suicide rates are also up among teens, especially teen girls.
Reasons for the rise in rates of depression
Experts point to a number of reasons:
- Reduced person-to-person interaction, due to the growth of social media and less time spent with families;
- Fewer opportunities for free play and exploration that build problem-solving skills; and
- Exposure to passive media such as television, which is thought to diminish the ability to develop protective mechanisms.
- Substance use is a risk factor for depression but can also be one of the troublesome consequences, thus making for a vicious cycle, trapping teens.
For further reading
The report entitled, “State Estimates of Major Depressive Episodes among Adolescents: 2013 and 2014”, is available here.
The report is based on data from SAMHSA’s 2012 to 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports.