Teen Mental Health in America is Getting Worse. What Can We Do About It?

Teen Mental Health in America is Getting Worse. What Can We Do About It?

Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Season 5, Episode 11

  • Mar 25, 2024 12:00 pm
  • 53:58 mins

Overall mental health among Americans - young and old - took a nose-dive during the pandemic. But the trend among teens has been worrisome for at least a decade now. Starting around 2012, suicide overtook homicide as a leading cause of death among 15-19 year-olds. In the most recent big survey of high schoolers the CDC does every few years, a quarter of students said they'd seriously considered suicide. Nearly half reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless. One thing is clear: Teen mental health in America is getting worse. What can we do about it? Let's look at three areas for possible intervention for teens in crisis. A lot of doctors and families recognize that medication is often an effective part of mental health treatment. But others worry that we're too quick to jump to prescription medications - particularly for teens. We'll tackle the role of sleep: two-thirds of American teens are chronically sleep-deprived. We'll look at the effects of social media, which seems like an obvious culprit - but outright banning it could actually make things worse for some teens. Podcast Guests: Brooke Siem, author of “May Cause Side Effects” Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins, child and adolescent psychiatrist and associate director of the Clay Center for Young Health Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital Lisa L. Lewis, author of “The Sleep-Deprived Teen: Why Our Teenagers Are So Tired, and How Parents and Schools Can Help Them Thrive” Sarah Coyne, professor of human development at Brigham Young University