Data gathered from responses to a popular personality test called the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI for short, and analyzed by researchers from five different universities shows that there is as many as five times the number of teenagers suffering from anxiety and depression as there were in the early twentieth century. The exact cause of the sharp incline in identified mental disorders amongst our youth is still yet unknown. In order to curtail the escalating numbers we must identify the underlying issues that result in these troubling mindsets.
Today, it is less of a social stigma to announce and therefore to seek treatment for a mental disorder. The advances in the past century that stemmed from in-depth study of mental disorders have included the identification and naming of more specific mental diseases. Long gone are the days where the insane were all classified as either psychotic, schizophrenic, or in some sort of post-traumatic condition and therefore confined to solitary confinement, deemed as a lost-cause case to be removed from society. I believe that our culture has created a more accepting environment than the bias of the Fifties and Sixties towards individuals with mental illnesses since some of the mystery, and thus some of the fear, has been removed.
The facts state that more and more young people are feeling anxiety and expressing issues related to depression. The world of today is not the world of yesterday, for better or most decidedly, for worse. Teen pregnancies are on the rise and so are teen suicide rates. Teen bullying and weight and appearance issues such as the envy of “Super Skinny” models are an epidemic amidst the youth of today in a way that makes the controversy of teenage rebellion stemming from Rock & Roll music and fast cars in the Fifties and Sixties look playful and innocent. There are other issues that are also more prevalent today such as abortion, global warming, and an increase in the murder rate. What affects the natural world naturally affects its community.
A popular theory as to why today’s youth are depressed is related to genetics; that more and more parents themselves suffer from anxiety and depression and therefore, impose their predisposed genes upon their offspring. Another point to keep in mind would be the nurture side of nature vs. nurture. A lot of parents today are over the age of 40 and have lived through at least one war in their lifetime. War is a sickness ridden with pain and loss both mental and physical, often devastating families when a loved one is taken away. Thousands upon thousands have lost their lives to natural...