Today, we are talking about teenage depression and anxiety, and the damaging effects of societal stigma and silence surrounding mental health issues.
A 2018 Blue Cross and Blue Shield study found that major depression diagnoses had risen by 33% from 2013 to 2018, with the fastest rise occurring in individuals under 35. Shockingly, the rate of diagnoses in adolescents between 12 and 17 had increased by 63%. These statistics are particularly concerning because individuals with depression are more likely to suffer from serious chronic health conditions, lose an average of ten healthy years of life due to coexisting conditions, and are seven times more likely to suffer from alcohol and drug addiction.
Today, I am joined by Dylan Stolba, a student who is going into the 10th grade at Carlsbad High School. She entered a writing contest sponsored by Rotary International and won 3rd place for her essay on Teenage Depression and Anxiety entitled, The Overdue Conversation. In this episode, we delve deep into the concerning rise in teenage depression and anxiety, exposing it as a rampant issue that frequently goes unnoticed or is improperly addressed.
We explore the various factors that contribute to teenage depression, including loss, social isolation, trauma, and a feeling of powerlessness, and how these experiences can have profound impacts on a teen’s mental health. Dylan adds an essential firsthand perspective to the discussion, as she shares her experiences and observations about teenage anxiety, depression, and grief from her award-winning essay, providing a more nuanced understanding of the struggles faced by her and her peers.
Dylan shines a light on the need for more open and honest conversations about teen anxiety and depression, arguing that society’s tendency to avoid frank discussions about such issues further exacerbates these feelings of isolation and stigma. We discuss the importance of understanding the symptoms of anxiety and depression, the necessity of reaching out for help when required, and various methods to help teens combat depression and anxiety.
Dylan’s candid narration serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of recognizing and addressing mental health issues in teenagers. Despite her own struggles, she emphasizes that help and positive change are possible.
Some key topic points covered in this episode include:
- The importance of recognizing and addressing teenage depression and anxiety
- Why open conversations about mental health experiences can help teens feel less isolated
- How teenage depression and anxiety can be manifestations of unresolved grief
- The link between unexpected or traumatic loss and the onset of depression or anxiety
- Symptoms of anxiety and depression to look out for in teenagers
- The importance of immediate action if there are signs of depression, especially talks of suicide
- The role of social media in exacerbating feelings of inadequacy and loneliness among teens
- How excessive smartphone use and screen time have been linked to depression among teens
- How overprotective parenting can prevent teens from problem-solving and developing resilience
- The role of support systems – friends, parents, teachers – in coping with mental health struggles
- The seriousness of self-harming behaviors among teenagers
- The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teenagers’ mental health
- The potential for change, recovery, and flourishing despite mental health struggles
About Dylan Stolba:
Dylan Stolba is going into the 10th grade at Carlsbad High School. She entered a writing contest sponsored by Rotary International and won 3rd place for her essay on Teenage Depression and Anxiety entitled, The Overdue Conversation.
Check out the video below to watch our interview:
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