Among aspects of mental health is the collective concern of how it is impacting current society, and vice versa. This can be measured by observing where it is now, in comparison to where it’s been. This is the survival instinct that many of us have. It kicks in when we sense distress in other humans.
In the name of distress, reporting of mental health disorders and the possibility of their increase can send society into a frenzy of thinking, “if it’s happening to them, why not me?” So we pose the question, are mental health disorders really on the rise?
Why Be Concerned?
Mental health is an integral part of each of our lives, and each moment. Even if you feel like you’re not regularly addressing or dealing with mental health, you are. Most of the time, we find out about mental health disorders once someone we know or ourselves experience the consequences of them.
Studying and understanding mental health disorders can be, in a way, comforting. It helps to know the signs, the facts, and risks. Let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Why Some Believe Mental Health Disorders are Increasing
In vetting the internet for information on whether or not mental health disorders are increasing among populations, you’ll likely come across publications that swear we are undergoing a serious change. Among said reasons for the suspected rise in numbers are statistics relating to teenagers, men, and societal changes with technology.
As of 2019, the American Psychological Association reported that mental health issues have increased for teens over the last decade. According to a publication discussing such rise, “more U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experience psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide.” Indicating that this rise does not include adults age 26 and over.
Under this lens, this shift could be due to generational changes. Conclusions that electronic communication, digital media, and variances in methods of social interactions are to blame. Which means younger generations are the most exposed to these changes, while older generations tend to stick to what they have experienced for the majority of their lives.
Perhaps this necessitates more research. But, for now, it seems the change in relationship dynamics might have to do with the rise.
Why Others Disagree
Those who don’t necessarily buy into the hype that there is a true increase in mental health disorders do not deny that there are more reported cases. It seems the consensus is that those who are against the idea believe that there are reasons behind the numbers that don’t specifically mean that there are more problems with mental health today than in the past.
Instead, ideas are more consistent with changes in social stigmas and an increase in diagnosis. Just because there are more people to report mental illness today doesn’t mean that there were fewer who are struggling with it as of yesterday.
The argument that a decrease in negative feelings toward the social stigmas of mental health has lead to more people, especially younger adults, to seek help. Perhaps this is in combination with a potentially higher necessity to seek help due to the aforementioned societal changes with technology combine to create this reported increase.
It’s possible that neither side of this argument is correct, and that the information all intersects to create what is now happening in the prevalence of mental health concern. What do you think?