Nearly 15 percent of American teenagers experienced major depression in 2018, new data show.
This figure represents a sharp increase from just six years ago, with adolescent girls in particular seeing a substantial jump in their reported rates of depression. The report reflects yet another frightening indicator of America’s teen mental health crisis.
The new data were released as part of the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey of teens aged 12 to 17, as well as adults. Survey proctors ask teens a battery of questions about depression—whether, in the past year, they have lacked joy in life or a sense of self-worth, and struggled with concentration, sleep, or eating. If an individual experienced a sufficient number of these, or other, indicators for a period of at least two weeks, he or she is considered to have suffered a “major depressive episode” (MDE).
The survey has been tracking teen depression since 2004, and for much of that time period somewhere on the order of 7 to 9 percent of adolescents reported a past-year MDE. Rates began to creep slowly upwards beginning in 2012. As of 2018, 14.4 percent of adolescents reported major depression, the highest figure to-date. – READ MORE