Teens say depression and anxiety are major issues for their peers

According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, most American adolescents – of all demographic groups – consider depression and anxiety as major problems among their peers.

The survey found that 70% of teens considered mental health a major problem. Fewer teens cited bullying, addiction or gangs as major problems. those in low-income households were more likely to do so.

Consistent responses to mental health issues by gender, race, and income were striking, "said Juliana Horowitz, assistant director of research at the center.

The survey also asked respondents whether they considered drinking alcohol or teen pregnancy as a major problem among their peers. Half of the adolescents in households earning less than $ 30,000 said that alcohol was a major problem; this number decreased to 43% among teens in households earning over $ 75,000.

Another major stressor is the constant peer monitoring on social media and the "fear of missing out" that can generate, he added. Once again, he said, tips on how to understand social media – for example, a person taking 50 pictures to get a perfect picture – can help dispel anxiety.

The increase in the number of mental health problems could also be linked to better screening practices, noted Lynn Bufka, associate executive director of the American Psychological Association.

But that remains a source of concern, she said. Teens face rapid changes in their bodies, their hormones and their lives in this era of uninterrupted information overload. They therefore need help to develop coping strategies.

"It becomes really important for adults around teens to have a stable influence in their lives, to give them space to talk to," she said.

A study published in 2017 found that the number of children and adolescents admitted to children's hospitals for having self-harm or suicide ideas had more than doubled from 2008 to 2015, reflecting trends in federal data.

Dr. Bufka said her main advice for adults worried about teens in their lives was simple: listen, without "giving advice" or judging too much, and give them the opportunity to talk to a counselor or psychologist. if necessary.

"Tell them you have your back," she said.

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