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Teen Mental & Behavioral Issues Are On The Rise

Text 2 Stop It Gives Support to Struggling Teens

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Mental health and behavioral issues among teens are on the rise, exacerbated by the pandemic and social media. Many teens and young adults suffer from depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorders, and other challenges, such as cyberbullying. We started Text 2 Stop It! to help support struggling teens, and along with our texting tip line for teens, we also work to educate others about the mental health crisis affecting our youth. Continue reading to learn more about mental health awareness as well as what you can do about it.

Sad teenager boy worried inside a car looking through the window 

Teen Mental Health Statistics

Mental health issues are becoming increasingly common among teens, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of seven and 24, second only to vehicular accidents. Here are a few other troubling statistics from Adolescent Wellness Academy:

  • Between 2009 and 2017, cases of major depression among 16- and 17-year-olds rose by 69%
  • Between 2008 and 2017, the suicide rate among teens ages 18 to 19 increased by 56%
  • There was a 71% increase in feelings of anxiety and hopelessness among people aged 17 to 25 between 2009 and 2017

The current rising trend in the mental health crisis continues to grow, and we need to treat this issue like the crisis it is.

row of studies on their phones and tablets 

Social Media & Teen Mental Health

This generation of teenagers have never known a world without the internet, but while the internet brings the ability to connect with people, it also comes with cyberbullying and shaming. Teens care deeply about the opinions of their peers and need to “fit in,” yet social media platforms make it easier for people to engage in cruel, hate-filled behavior. Studies have shown that teens who experience cyberbully are twice as likely to engage in self-harm. More so, when teens are tied to their electronic devices and online engagement, many suffer from lack of sleep and feelings of social isolation.

Teenage girl sitting against brick wall in a depressed state 

Risk Factors That Increase Mental Health Issues

The more risk factors that teens are exposed to, the more likely they are to suffer from mental health or behavioral issues. Risk factors include:

  • Increased stress
  • Parental depression or substance abuse
  • Negative family environment or family conflict
  • Loss of supportive relationships, including friends, family members, sports teams
  • Bullying/cyberbullying

If a teen in your life is experiencing any of these risk factors, initiate a conversation with them about their mental health and provide resources for them to get help.

Horizontal view of depressed young woman crying 

Recognizing The Signs of Problems

A big part of supporting teens is recognizing the signs of problems. While teens naturally push boundaries, it’s important to know the signs of a potentially serious mental health problem. These include prolonged self-isolation and withdrawal, lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed, declining grades, and sleep patterns or appetite changes.

Mental health issues also often go hand in hand with substance abuse disorders, so it’s also important to watch out for physical signs of drug or alcohol abuse, which can include bloodshot eyes, sudden weight change, poor hygiene, and frequent nose bleeds.

Protect Our Kids

It’s up to all of us to help support our kids. At Text To Stop It! we’re doing our part by providing an anonymous reporting tool for youth experiencing or witnessing bullying, drug distribution, weapons at school, self-harming behavior, or other concerning activities. Ready to do your part to support mental health awareness? Learn more and donate today.

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