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To think that there must be a tech related reason that so may teenagers are depressed and anxious

(99 Posts)
38cody Mon 27-Feb-17 21:18:29

At least 70% of the teens I know are anxious and/or depressed. I don't remember any of my peers going through this - panic attacks, weeping etc.
I can only think that it's something to do with how they are communicating online?

papayasareyum Mon 27-Feb-17 21:22:14

I think you might have something there.
(Mum of two stressed teenagers, both having been to gp for it)

OneWithTheForce Mon 27-Feb-17 21:25:42

Not enough exercise, not enough sunshine and outside time, not enough sleep, not enough quality food, not enough real communication, media pressure to be "X" (whatever the media/society has decided is the thing everyone should be/have/do), peer pressure to be "X", parental pressure to achieve academically,

DarklyDreamingDexter Mon 27-Feb-17 21:27:00

Sounds entirely plausible. There ought to be more research on it.

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 27-Feb-17 21:27:11

Constant pressure to have the perfect life/latest gadget/expensive gear as drip fed by social media. Some kids can see through the crap and deal with it, some can't and bend under the pressure.
I have one child of each type.

AnUnhappyStudent Mon 27-Feb-17 21:29:41

There is a link between spending 3+ hours on social media on a school night and mental illness. Had a lecture about childrens mental health today!

fuckingwall Mon 27-Feb-17 21:30:50

I think parents are just more aware of mental health issues now. When I was a teen it would have been unthinkable to admit to feeling depressed.

bibbitybobbityyhat Mon 27-Feb-17 21:32:10

Yanbu, I agree. It's an epidemic and we don't know how to deal with it.

weeblueberry Mon 27-Feb-17 21:32:44

I agree it's just more visible now. Lots of people of my parents generation (late 50s) have mentioned at some point that they felt horrendously low or depressed in their teenage years but it wasn't the done thing to discuss it. They suffered in silence. Thank God it's not like that now...

choli Mon 27-Feb-17 21:34:16

Really? I am in my 50s and I remember most of my friends and myself being very stressed and depressed as teens. It is a horrible phase of life, and not one I would ever want to repeat.

DJBaggySmalls Mon 27-Feb-17 21:35:51

Peer pressure is understated IMO. Look at them when they are small; they develop the accent of the other kids around them, not their parents.

I was anxious as a teen and had a depressed friend; we were the only two with obvious problems in our class. In our year there were several kids with very bad home situations and they coped better than many seem to today.

RandomDent Mon 27-Feb-17 21:35:56

Academic pressure too. Back in the olden days we got taught stuff, crammed for exams and hoped for the best. Now they know every nuance that will get them to the next level, sometimes I think this knowledge creates too much pressure for them.

PuffinDodger Mon 27-Feb-17 21:36:30

I think Onewith summed it up well at 21.25. It's what we were told at a meeting at school about wellbeing

ICantFindAFreeNickName2 Mon 27-Feb-17 21:36:31

I think the pressure they are under at school has a lot to do with it as well. My dd had so much homework over half-term that she said she might as well have been at school. She's only year 9, so it will just gets worse over the next couple of years.

frankie001 Mon 27-Feb-17 21:37:01

I think that we are more open about mental health, discussing feelings now. I grew up in the 80s and had horrendous anxiety, speration anxiety from my parents, and what I now know to be OCD. I'm glad things are more open now, but wish there was more support and funding all round.

DrivingMeBonkers Mon 27-Feb-17 21:37:49

Exam pressure, right from the moment they enter school, SATS, 11+ end of years, continuous assessments, GCSEs, A levels ; it's relentless, we had none of this endless pressure.

corythatwas Mon 27-Feb-17 21:40:22

In the case of my teenager,, I reckon it's the same depression/anxiety that has run in the family for at least 4 generations, though she is the first that will feature in any statistics because she is the first to have got help for it. I hope her life will be all the better for it.

Dd didn't have access to social media until long after she had clearly developed issues.

As a matter of fact, I do remember several of my peers (both in the UK and my country of birth) developing MH issues in the 70s when I was a teen. Plenty of anorexia around, plenty of depression.

My MIL was medicated for depression as a young woman in the 40s/50s.

Earlier than that, there were serious concerns about young women's MH in the late 19th/early 20th century; it's quite a theme in literature of the period. Remember Sigmund Freud- he didn't get famous because the young people he saw were so mentally resilient.

Not denying that there is a lot of pressure on teens these days, and that many aspects of our lifestyle can hardly be described as healthy, but I do think it is wrong to assume that all MH issues must be caused by whatever is the fashionable explanation at the time (in the Victorian age, it was assumed that it was the lack of anything useful to do).

cluelessjane Mon 27-Feb-17 21:41:20

I think the constant pressure that teenagers are put under is a lot to with it. I'm 19 now but I remember from being in year 9+ teachers drilling into us that qualifications are really important but at the same time you need to be x and be able to do y etc. The average day when I was doing my gcse's was really long, tiring and I felt so under pressure to do well as that was what everybody expected of me and it was hard at time.

As well as this, you've got social media leading to self esteem issues because it's hard to realise the fact that people usually only put the BEST parts of their lives on social media, not a true representation at all. It can make you feel inadequate. Plus all the 'thinspo', 'fitspo' perception of beauty AND dealing with typical teenage drama like romantic relationships and friends.

It's real. PLEASE if any of you have teenagers and they are struggling, please do not make them feel like their depression isn't valid. The stress levels when i was doing gcse's and a levels were ridiculous. I wanted to stop multiple times but pushed through. I struggled with self harm, had self esteem issues and feel so much happier now that I'm past those years of my life

harderandharder2breathe Mon 27-Feb-17 21:43:39


I was depressed as a teen seventeen years ago and have suffered anxiety and depression (diagnosed and medicated) ever since. The teenage years have always been difficult. Now there is so much more awareness that teens aren't just being awkward they're really suffering when they have mental illness. And the internet means they can reach out to their peers in similar situations for support perhaps before telling their parents. Whereas I never discussed my mental health with my parents as a teen.

From speaking to teens now they are under more pressure at school than we ever were, and there's more pressure to do extra curricular activities on top, none of my friends or I did any activities after age 12 or so, we were all from average families and average or above average intelligence. I'm sure social media and not being able to get away from bullies like we could is a big part of it as well.

But yabu and over simplistic to blame one thing.

iremembericod Mon 27-Feb-17 21:48:31

I do remember lots and lots of eating disorders in my peer group (everyone being sick after eating in particular) but never heard of anyone being depressed or angry.

I think teenage angst has always been there but like pp have said, the expectations are incredible. If I ever venture on Instagram I feel instantly inferior and I'm 42. If I was my 'feeling fat and unsure' 13 year old self there is no way I wouldn't feel worthless.

I think this phase will pass as we are starting to see the backlash and real Instagram pictures come on and just tonight my 15y DS said "it's impossible to tell what someone looks like from Instagram" so that area will improve I have no doubt, but that doesn't help kids caught up in it right now.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 27-Feb-17 21:49:14

I also think teens have less of a future to look forward to. Tens of thousands of £ debt if they go to uni, struggle to get a job with or without a degree. Then if they do get s job likely working well into their 70s. No chance of buying a house ever unless they're incresdibly lucky or mummy and daddy can afford to help them. Politicians that don't care about them and don't appeal to them.

Even fifteen years ago when I was a teen things weren't so bleak. Even the difference between me graduating uni in 2006 and my sister in 2009 was startling how different it was to get a job after uni (easy for me, harder for her. Neither of us have useful degrees. I'm still working for the company that took me on 10 years ago, she's had a variety of temp jobs).

olderthanyouthink Mon 27-Feb-17 21:49:23

I've had 2 "rounds" of depression, both triggered by being dumped. The first was at 17 the second at 20 about 6 months ago.

The internet helped me figure out that what was wrong with me was depression. Especially when I started pulling my hair out, I read loads of forums and someone recommended a YouTuber who also he MH issues and did the same who talked about it. That was immensely helpful to me.

Eventually my parents got tired of me sitting around not doing anything being a waste of space and took my internet connection away and I got worse. Eventually I told them (wrote it down) what was wrong with me but I was in a really bad way.

I am currently depressed, and though I'm not a teenager I'm not far off it, and I sometimes go for a scroll on facebook and its fine untill I see posts about people doing things, going places having friends/boyfriend. All stuff I can't do and don't have and it upsets me. BUT I now know enough to stop, to close that tab and distract myself.

I've thought about posting what my life is like on facebook before so that maybe someone else who isn't well won't feel like the only person in the world whose life isn't like what everyone posts on FB but I can't because I think it would worry my family too much.

It can be a help and it can be damaging. It's hard to find the balance.

Astoria7974 Mon 27-Feb-17 21:49:37

There is a link between minor-moderate depression/anxiety, and lack of exercise. When ttc I was advised to come off my anti-anxiety meds and was referred for alternative therapies - first thing they recommend is regular exercise/mindfulness etc. I'm now so much happier than before - I doubt I'll need to go on the meds again.

angelcakerocks Mon 27-Feb-17 21:51:11

They don't have space to 'switch off' at home from their peer group because they chat to them constantly on social media.
They don't have space to be a teenager with bad hair days and spots, there's a constant expectation to match up on Instagram and so on, and to see the latest so called celebrity whose achievement is being on social media (therefore all quite shallow)
They're under tons of pressure at school and more pressure from parents than we ever used to be.
They face massive debt if they go to uni
On top of all that, their hope of ever buying their own home must just seem like pie in the sky, and renting is also astronomical which is a pretty depressing prospect in terms of their future once they leave home
I would be depressed if I was a teen now tbh

Areyoufree Mon 27-Feb-17 21:55:36

It's because being a teenager is shit. You couldn't pay me enough money to go back there.

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