How American Culture Leads To High Mental Illness Levels In Adolescents

As the inhabitants of Generation Z (born between 1995-2015) look back on this past decade, I wonder how they will remember it. Will they remember growing up in a peaceful or stressful environment? When asking myself this question, I realized that it was part of a more substantial inquiry: Was this decade (2010’s) of American culture a positive environment for the development of the nation’s children? I don’t think that either of these questions is quickly answered, but we can dive into the underlying issues that are causing this sort of questioning. The anxiety, depression, and difficulties that people in Generation Z face daily do not compare to that of past American generations.

As stated by The National Institutes of Health, about 1 in 3 of all adolescents ages 13 to 18, will experience any anxiety disorder at some point. Also, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 of every adolescent that experiences an anxiety disorder will suffer from some form of depression as well. These statistics speak to the severity of the massive mental health issue, specifically in adolescents in America. I believe that the cause of these spiked anxiety levels is due to three reasons: An environment with extremely high expectations for its children, a world in which Social Media takes a prominent role, and the unfortunate violence that is seen on nearly a daily basis across America. Over the upcoming weeks, I will be reporting on each one of these issues individually and how they add to the spiked level in adolescent mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression.

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