Social Media Exposure Causing Rise To Depression, Suicide Rates Among Young Americans

Mental and emotional health spilling over to financial stress.
Mental and emotional health spilling over to financial stress. (Photo: Benefits Canada/ Twitter)

Did you know that depression and suicide are two of the leading causes of death among people worldwide? The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that there are about 800,000 deaths because of it per year. With an estimate of about one person's death every 40 seconds, experts can't help but to feel alarmed.

What's more worrying is the result that was revealed after a study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. The study shows how depression and suicide rates have dramatically increased among young Americans.

The study, which was conducted by observing data of more than 600,000 people gathered from 2009 and 2017, revealed that rate of depression among kids with ages 14 to 17 has increased to 60%, for ages 12 to 13 is 47%, and for 18 to 21 is 46%. Furthermore, for young adults ages 20 to 21, the rate has roughly doubled. These results only showed one thing: suicidal thoughts are getting more rampant among young people nowadays.

"I think this is quite a wake-up call," claims Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor of psychology and education at the University of Southern California. The professor added how the results of the research reflect how adolescents weren't receiving the best support they need for their emotional health.

"There is an overwhelming amount of data from many different sources, and it all points in the same direction: more mental health issues among American young people," explains Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, author of iGen, a book about how technology affects the lives of young people, and also the study's author. The only question left is, what causes our youths to feel that way?

The professor states that it is indeed difficult to pinpoint a particular reason why our youths today are having an unhealthy emotional state, since everyone is not the same, as reported by NBC News. "But there was one change that impacted the lives of young people more than older people, and that was the growth of smartphones and digital media like social media, texting, and gaming," Twenge added.

To alter what is happening to our youths' emotional stability today, experts remind us always to be aware of their behaviors, especially with their situation now where they need to be more exposed to "intimate and healthy social" and not just through virtual communication. Being addicted to social media won't help. So it is better to limit their exposure to it.

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