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Is teen mental health getting worse? Local experts offer insight

Sad Teen
CC0 Public Domain
Sad Teen

According to Wedgwood Christian Services, major depression in teens has increased almost 300% over the last 14 years.

Mental health workers are using National Teenager Day to bring awareness towards the rising numbers of teens experiencing major depression.

Brina Tiemeyer, director of clinical services at Wedgwood Christian Services, said when comparing current statistics to that of 14 years ago, there's been a significant decline in teens' mental health.

Tiemeyer told WGVU a portion of this rise in depression rates could be due to the increase of empowerment teens now have to seek help, which bolsters rates of diagnosis. However, she feels the larger impact lies within isolation, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued rise of social media.

“In social media comes along with cyberbullying, and we are at a point in time where teens and children are very comfortable going to their peers, and having that conversation and that finding comfort in communicating with peers can really lessen the communication with child and their caregiver," she explained.

Teimeyer says while the caregiver-child relationship can be one of the most enjoyable in a child’s life it can also be the most difficult relationship to maintain. She recommends opening the conversation, talking with teens about the best ways to connect, communicate and ensure they feel empowered.

“Empowering teenagers assists in developing stronger self esteem empathy guidance and encourages them to try new things. Studies have shown it will help decrease mental health," she Teimeyer said.

Wedgwood Christian Services is offering an array of free online resources.

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