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9 Alarming Teen Depression Statistics

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Being a teenager isn’t easy. 

There’s peer pressure and the desire to fit in and a broken heart. 

Time seems to go ever so slowly – every year feels like a lifetime. 

As pop-punk band Blink 182 put it in one of their most poignant songs, about a teenage fan who committed suicide:

I never conquered, rarely came

Sixteen just held such better days
No wonder teen depression statistics around the world are on the rise.

So, how common is depression in teens? And what can we do about it?

Let’s look into this deeply disconcerting matter.

Worrying Teen Depression Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Underage teens who are abusing substances are at significant risk of developing depression and anxiety.
  • Among those diagnosed with depression, approximately 50% are also diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
  • In one 12-month study, 7.4% of 9 to 12-graders admitted to attempting suicide.
  • Teenage girls are more likely to receive treatment for anxiety and depression than boys.
  • Neglected teens and victims of abuse are most at risk of developing depression, suicidal tendencies, and other comorbid disorders.
  • In a study of 30min/day social media exposure, 15% of teenage girls said they felt unhappy.
  • Approximately 23% of teen boys in the US suffer from day to day issues with anxiety or depression.

Teenage Depression Statistics in Detail

1. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the US among youths aged 10–24.

(MedicineNet)

Healthcare professionals conduct a series of examinations to determine the diagnosis of depression. Examples may include asking standard mental health questions, performing a physical exam, a medical interview, as well as routine lab tests. 

However, depression in teenagers statistics clearly show that many young people continue to battle these mental issues.  

2. Approximately 23% of teen boys in the US suffer from day to day issues with anxiety or depression. 

(Pew Research)

According to a Pew Research Center Survey from 2018, teen depression rates in the US are worryingly high. Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 reported that they experienced anxiety as a common source of depression. 

Around 26% of teenagers described this issue as a minor problem. Teen depression stats show that 29% of teens feel tense or nervous daily, while 45% of youth only sometimes experience difficulties due to anxiety and depression. 

It gets worse: 

Around 36% of teen girls said they felt anxious or depressed almost every day. 

3. Depression is on the rise among children aged 3 to 17, with close to 1.9 million diagnosed to date according to depression statistics.

(CDC)

According to the Center for Disease Control, more and more children in the United States are suffering from issues deriving from mental disorders. 

Studies from multiple sources emphasize the importance of reacting swiftly upon noticing even the earliest symptoms of any type of mental disorder. 

What’s more: 

The latest teen mental health statistics suggest that children are among the groups that are most likely to experience early stages of depression. Behavior problems are most common among children aged 6–11.

4. According to adolescent depression statistics, 15% of female teens are unhappy after spending 30 minutes on social media daily.

(Pew Research Center/The Conversation/ CBS)

Social media has a significant impact on symptoms of depression in teens. In total, 95% of today’s teenagers actively use at least one social media platform. What’s interesting is that girls are more frequent users than boys. Furthermore, 26% of girls who say they’re unhappy spend at least six hours a day on social media. 

The thing is:

A considerable amount of information that targets female users has to do with the way they should look, which piles on stress and pressure.

Among boys, on the other hand, the percentage of teens with depression is lower. Approximately 18% reveal they’re unhappy when using social media for six hours or more daily. 

5. Teenagers under the age of 18 who fall prey to substance abuse are at a significant risk of developing depression and anxiety.

(Polaris Teen Center/UNSW)

Alcohol and drugs are one of the leading risk factors for depression in adolescence. As the teen brain is not fully developed, these youngsters are at a high risk of developing an addiction to various substances. 

Teenage depression statistics over time have shown that 55.6% of teens of both genders consumed alcohol in the past year. 

And that’s not all:

Another example is amphetamine, which has been getting a lot of attention nowadays because it can cause suicidal tendencies in addition to anxiety and depression. Teen depression and substance abuse statistics show that 6.7% of teens in the US consumed amphetamine in the previous year. 

6. The number of youth with mental health disorders today is double that of the past decade.

(Health US News)

When it comes to teenage depression facts, it’s easy to sweep the problem under the rug and pretend like today’s generation has grown accustomed to crying wolf. 

However, there’s a lot of cold, hard data that says otherwise. 

One report in particular that demonstrates the eeriness of the numbers of teens suffering from depression today comes from the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 

Here’s the gist:

The survey encompassed 400,000 adults between 2008 and 2017, as well as more than 200,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 17 in the period between 2005 and 2017. In this period, major depression for teens rose from 8.7% to 13.2% (a 52% increase). 

What’s more:

The situation is just as alarming for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, teen depression statistics reveal. Between 2009 (8.1%) and 2017 (13.2%), major depression skyrocketed by a massive 63%.

7. Over 12 months, 7.4% of youth in grades 9 to 12 admitted to making at least one suicide attempt.

(Parents)

There’s no shortage of situations in anyone’s daily life that causes a significant level of stress to surface.

For an extremely high number of adolescents and young adults, however, things often become so dark that they feel as though they have no other option than to take their own lives, teen depression and suicide statistics reveal. 

It’s vital to keep in mind that there is always something good and positive to look forward to, even if you don’t see it at the moment. Regardless of how you may feel, the first reaction to feeling depression should always be to talk to someone about it and ask for help.

8. Neglected teens and teens who have suffered abuse are among the riskiest to develop depression and other comorbid disorders.

(Discovery Mood)

It’s not particularly difficult to spot the warning signs of depression in teenagers. These signs typically include loss of appetite, reluctance to socialize, spending time on their own, mood swings, and a general avoidance of duties and responsibilities in daily life. 

However: 

There are always groups of teens that are especially prone to developing such debilitating mental issues. Examples of such groups include adolescents suffering from various physical conditions or chronic illnesses, as well as young people who were victims of disruptions or trauma at home (such as deaths of parents and even divorce). 

Additionally, teens who have a family history of mental illness or depression are at risk, with 20% to 50% of teens suffering from depression having another family member with a similar or identical mental disorder. 

It’s no secret that female teens also tend to be twice as likely to suffer from depression than men, according to depression in teens statistics.

9. Among those who have a diagnosis of depression, approximately 50% simultaneously have a diagnosis of anxiety disorder.

(Very Well Mind)

While you’ll find tons of online sources focusing on teenage depression prevention, it’s essential to know that depression is never easy to overcome. It’s a truly debilitating illness and one that takes time and proactive effort to resolve. 

In other words: 

Because it can result from a wide variety of occurrences, events, and causes in a person’s early life, depression often goes hand in hand with several other, equally challenging conditions. 

Statistics on teen depression reveal that mental disorders such as various types of anxiety, suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, and the like are frequently responsible for the overall worsening of a person’s wellbeing.

Teen Depression Statistics - boy

FAQ

Q: How many teenagers are affected by mental illness?

The question of how many teens have depression is difficult to answer directly since stats regarding mental illnesses change over time. However, depression rates are on the rise among children between the ages of three and seventeen, with close to 1.9 million kids (around 3.2%) having a diagnosis to date. According to the Center for Disease Control, more and more youth in the United States are suffering from issues deriving from mental disorders. 

Q: What age group has the highest rate of depression?

Studies show that teenagers under the age of 18 who fall prey to substance abuse are at significant risk of developing depression and anxiety. One study revealed that over 12 months, 7.4% of youth in grades 9 to 12 admitted they made at least one suicide attempt, which is one of the worst effects of teenage depression.

Q: What is the treatment for teen depression?

Treating depression in teens can be done in various ways, though medication and psychotherapy are two of the most common and popular ones. In the broadest sense, the severity and type of symptoms of depression in a teenager are the factors that determine the specific kind of treatment. For the majority of teens who have this mental disorder, a combination of medication and psychotherapy tends to be sufficiently compelling. 

There are effective ways to battle this disease, but the most critical way to ensure your teen stays safe and leads a healthy life is to catch the symptoms early on. Teenage depression medications alone very rarely suffice.

Conclusion

It can be particularly frightening to have to suffer from a mental illness. The suffering becomes even more horrific if one has to endure it in silence and without the knowledge of friends and family. 

Today, however, there are a variety of effective teen depression treatments at your disposal. 

Remember: 

Noticing the symptoms and signs early on, as well as seeking out professional help, is the best type of assistance you can provide to your teen. 

We hope the previously mentioned teen depression statistics have helped raise awareness about how troublesome and detrimental depression and other mental illnesses can be. 

Stay vigilant, and you’ll ensure your teen lives a happy and fulfilled life. Good luck!

Sources:

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