In recent years, the millennial generation has seen an increase in rates of depression. The previous stigma around mental health seems to have dissipated with more open conversations about therapy in entertainment and media. However, rates of depression are still on the rise.
In 2004, the American Psychological Association’s Practice Directorate took a national poll asking American households about mental health treatment. According to the poll’s findings, “48 percent of those polled reported a visit to a mental health professional by someone in their household this year, and more than…91 percent…said they would likely consult or recommend a mental health professional if they or a family member were experiencing a problem.”[
This poll was taken fifteen years ago and discussions surrounding mental health treatment have become even more of a conversation in the national sphere. Some see technology as a factor in the rise of depression rates among teens since it adds to the feeling of isolation many feel on one side of the screen when not interacting with people face-to-face. However, there are benefits to technological advancements, as well.
Since the costs of therapy often create a deterrent for people seeking help, the digital age has provided alternative options in the form of apps. The effectiveness of these apps is questioned by psychologists, but many see them as a good way for people to remain conneced to therapy when they are not in active sessions.
Even though the stigmas around mental health seem to have declined, the rise in depression among young people is still alarming. While it is easy to jump to many theories and conclusions about this, it is important for people to seek out communities where they feel engaged. This allows for relationships to be formed that encourage young people to be honest about their struggles.
In the age of digital media, there are so many online forums and social media opportunities that it seems as if one should never feel lonely. However, this is not the case.
Forbes.com discusses this as a “loneliness epidemic” in the millennial generation. “According to the 2016 VICELAND UK Census, loneliness is the number one fear of young people today—ranking ahead of losing a home or a job.”[
While this generation has a greater ability to connect with others through online communities, they are also subject to the echo chambers that these forums create. If they are not given a chance to form their own views and opinions before hearing what appears to be the majority view, this creates a situation where adolescents do not feel welcome in asking questions. Over time, this leads them to deal with questions on their own, which can become isolating and disheartening.
In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” We need other people in our lives to remind us we are not alone in our queries and concerns about the world.
should do their best to involve themselves in communities where questions and
debates are encouraged. A support system can encourage and uplift people in the
midst of their confusions and questions rather than further isolate them.