Published results confirm that symptoms of anxiety and depression have increased for teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimate that in 2014, over 12 percent of teens in the United States experienced at least one major depressive episode, as compared to 5 percent of teens in 2006. Depression, anxiety and other mental health symptoms such as psychosis can interfere with a juvenile’s ability to think logically, concentrate, make clear decisions or communicate feelings directly. Any one of the mental health symptoms can be exhausting, causing agitation and frustration throughout the day or night.
Symptoms can interfere with academic, social and family life as well as basic functions such as eating and sleeping. Severe symptoms, if left untreated, can cause chronic negative thinking, hopelessness and irritability. Irritability can build up, causing the teen to lash out aggressively toward others (face-to-face or online), or engage in self-harming behaviors. A recent Seattle Children’s Hospital study quantified an increase in self-harm searches by collecting data from Instagram related to searches for the hashtag, #selfharmmm. Findings indicate that searches for this hashtag increased from 1.7 million in 2014 to over 2.4 million in 2015. [Read more…]