Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, recently posted a twitter thread with alarming statistics on increasing teen depression. Here’s a chart of the share of 12-17 year olds experiencing depression in the last twelve months according to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health.
As Twenge points out, this is the opposite of what we’d expect if the economy was causing it. Teen depression was lower during the Great Recession. In many places 2010 was the peak unemployment rate, so depression only took off after economic growth was underway.
She speculates that smartphones and social media could be driving this, as the increase in depression parallels the adoption of those technologies among teens.
This is yet another data point showing that our society is not a healthy place.
I focus on men’s issues. Things have not been going well for men in many dimensions of life. In general, our institutions are failing. This is just one more example.
But I always say that I want to build men up, not tear women down. This world is not great for women either in a whole lot of ways. Women suffer more from these kinds of mental illnesses. The fact that nearly a quarter of teenage girls suffer from depression is very much not good.
Rather than some kind of battle of the sexes here, we should be asking ourselves what’s gone wrong in society to create these kinds of problems?