Topic: Mental Health in American Youth
- The increase in mental illness in young people (ages 10-24) has been linked to the results of life being more fast paced, the amount of stress being put on, and social media. In addition, the amount of mental health professionals are not enough to support the youth’s battle on top of insufficient treatment, therefore many of them suffer with these issues and can lead to the decision of suicide. I believe we should educate our government on the increasing rates and find a way to make treatment more accessible and affordable.
Background and Evidence:
- In the last 20 years, mental illness has been on the rise in young people, ages 10-24. The most common mental health issues include depression and anxiety which negatively affects the daily lives of the youth. These disorders have been linked to the increase in suicides and sends an alarming message to mental health professionals across the nation. The main problem is, there are not enough professionals to assist these cases meaning that many children and young people do not have access to the proper treatment.
Sources I Have Found:
- Teens and Mental Health
- It is very common that teenagers and young people (ages 10-24) these days have more depressive thoughts than their normal lows. A Pediatric Psychiatrist (Paul Croarkin) discusses this issue with a panel of doctors of the Mayo Clinic. It has been a main concern that suicides within this age group has nearly doubled within the last 20 years. Croarkin feels that we should embrace the increased suicide rates as a failure and continue to research to better the system of helping those with these mental health issues. He believes that the rates have increased due to life being more fast paced and stressful in young people as well as the contribution of social media.
- Stats of Mental Health in Youth
- Statistics of the youth having these mental disorders have been recorded and the results are shocking. The following show statistics on some common individual mental disorders that affect children: 9.4% of children aged 2-17 years (approximately 6.1 million) have received an ADHD diagnosis, 7.4% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.5 million) have a diagnosed behavior problem, 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety, and 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression. In many cases, multiple disorders can occur together. For example, “Having another disorder is most common in children with depression: about 3 in 4 children aged 3-17 years with depression also have anxiety (73.8%) and almost 1 in 2 have behavior problems (47.2%).”
- Statistics have been compared within the last few years of each other and the increase shows that there is a significant problem that American children face. Children diagnosed with either anxiety or depression has increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8.4% in 2011–2012. This shows that within less than a decade, the rates have nearly doubled in this age group.
- Access to Care
- There are many issues across America with insurance and healthcare not covering mental health treatment. This includes adults and children. Though children have an easier time having insurance cover these treatments, access to treatments are still lacking. There are also many cases where treatments are insufficient which raises many more questions. According to 2017 research, 7.9% of youth had private health insurance that did not cover mental or emotional problems. This could vary state to state, but the highest rate for children lacking mental health coverage is 16% in Oklahoma.
- If children do have access to treatments, they could be insufficient. The percentage of youth with severe depression who received insufficient treatment (less than 6 or no sessions of treatment) in each of the above states are: Kansas – 70.4%, Louisiana – 77.5%, Arizona – 83.3%, and South Carolina – 85.4%.
Sources I Haven’t Found Yet:
- I would like to find some sources that show how the speculations of the increasing rates of mental illnesses truly have affected these statistics.
- It would be helpful to find a source that offers suggestions on how this issue can be solved or at least begin a path to being solved.
Counterarguments I Need to Refute:
- Critics will point out that statistics show that children have an easier time being insured for mental health treatments.
- The rates only look like they increased because in the past, we did not record the stats as well as we do now.