Teenage mental health

As parents we know that teenagers are vulnerable. 

But 82% of adults are unaware teenagers feel under pressure. 

What are the facts?

Rates of anxiety and depression amongst teenagers are soaring. The statistics are terrifying - report after report has come out over 2016 highlighting the issues.

Why is this happening?

Prof Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “These figures highlight worrying trends. Society is changing – even in the last seven years, social media, for example, has increased in popularity and the number of platforms people might be present on has multiplied.

“As a result, young people are facing unprecedented pressures, not just over the emergence of cyberbullying and revenge porn, but constant exposure to unattainable aspirations of what they should look like, and be like.”

We are educating young people for a world that is unlikely to exist in 20 years' time and, arguably, not equipping them with the skills they need for the one that will. 

The impact of social media

Social media doesn't create bullying or anxieties about body image (it's worth noting that rates of bullying haven't risen in the last 10 years). But technology can amplify problems or give them new forms of expression. Cyberbullying can be particularly painful. But the trouble with seeing social media as the problem is that it's the technology that then gets addressed rather than the underlying issues. And after the digital detox, the problems remain.

For most people, the effects of technology are noticeable in the changes, mostly small but cumulative, in our moods, manners, feelings and ways of going about our lives.

What can parents go for help?

 There are lots of organisations and books available to help parents of teenagers to be aware of the pressures their children are facing and advice about how to deal with them.

Here are some of my recommendations: