The United States Surgeon General has issued a warning about a mental health crisis among young people, which has been aggravated by the epidemic.
The US Surgeon General cautioned on Tuesday that young people are experiencing “devastating” mental health consequences as a result of their generation’s problems, including the coronavirus epidemic.
The statement was part of an unusual public advisory issued by the country’s top physician, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, in a 53-page study emphasising that the epidemic exacerbated mental health disorders that were already pervasive by the spring of 2020.
According to the survey, there has been a considerable increase in self-reports of despair, anxiety, and emergency department visits for mental health issues. In the United States, adolescent girls’ emergency department visits for suicide attempts increased by 51% in early 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. For males, the figure increased by 4%.
According to the findings, feelings of anxiety and despair more than quadrupled globally throughout the epidemic. However, mental health difficulties were already on the rise in the United States, with emergency room visits for depression, anxiety, and associated issues increasing by 28% between 2007 and 2018.
The explanations are complicated and not yet conclusive. According to the findings, adolescent brain chemistry and interactions with friends and family are crucial contributors, as is a fast-paced media culture, which can leave some young brains feeling helpless.
“Young people are inundated with messages in the media and popular culture that degrade their sense of self-worth, telling them they are not good-looking enough, popular enough, clever enough, or wealthy enough,” Dr. Murthy stated in the paper. “This occurs when progress on serious and troubling concerns like as climate change, financial inequality, racial injustice, the opioid epidemic, and gun violence appears to be moving too slowly.”
The Surgeon General’s advice joins a rising chorus of requests for increased attention and action on teenage mental health. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association joined forces in October to designate juvenile mental health a “national emergency.”
Although social media is frequently blamed for teenage distress, the research reveals that screen time alone does not account for crises. Rather, social media and other online activities intensify an adolescent’s pre-existing mental condition, prompting some to feel greater misery and others to feel more connected.
According to Bonnie Nagel, a paediatric neuropsychologist at Oregon Health & Science University who treats and researches adolescents, online interactions do not appear to meet essential requirements for connection.
Loneliness is a crucial predictor of emotions of despair and suicide ideation, according to recent research she co-authored.
“I don’t think it’s a true human connection when you’re chatting to someone online who has a phoney façade,” Dr. Nagel stated.
At the same time, evidence suggests that screen time may be replacing activities recognised to be important for physical and mental health, such as sleep, exercise, and in-person activity. Despite spending endless hours connected via technology, today’s young experience higher degrees of loneliness than any other age group.
Authorities and experts agree that there hasn’t been enough investigation into the fundamental issues. Dr. Murthy’s advise asks more resources to be given to researching and resolving mental health issues, as well as a better recognition of mental health as a critical aspect in overall health.
“Now is the time to demand change,” ends the study.