Depression: Why is it Common in Young Adults?

Depression is a common mental health problem in the US, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Americans aged 18 to 25 have the highest percentage (13.1) of adults with depressive episodes. Depression also affects 8.7 percent of females, which is higher than males at 5.3 percent.

Depression can affect anyone. But why is it common among teens and young adults?

Social Media May Trigger Depression

Almost everyone uses social media today. Data from the Pew Research Center show 79 percent of individuals aged 18 to 29 use Facebook and 67 percent use Instagram as of 2018. Social media is also a part of some people’s daily routine.

A report by the American Psychological Association (APA) says the number of individuals who experience major depression increased 63 percent in young adults during 2009 to 2017. Jean Twenge, PhD, author of the book “iGeb,” see digital communication as a major reason for the increase.

Excessive use of social media can affect someone’s mental well-being. Twenge explains teens and young adults spend more time on social media than spending time with their friends in person. Older adults, meanwhile, have more stable social lives, which may be the reason the depression rate among older adults has no significant increase.

Young adults also become anxious as they prepare to enter college or the workforce. They realize that they’re not ready to enter the real world where they have to communicate with other people face-to-face.  

Helping Young Adults Overcome Depression


The NIMH says depression can lead to severe impairments that limit someone’s ability to perform major life activities. So it’s crucial to get the help your teen needs. You can ask trusted family members to refer you to therapists or you can look up reviews of programs like Eva Carlston to determine their suitability to your child’s situation.

Support will always be available. You just have to reach out.

Alternatively, talk to your teen on coping with depression:

  • Talk to someone – hotlines, services, or support groups help people with major depression. Some trusted friends can also help your teen feel better.
  • Avoid isolation – your teen may want to be alone and never want to leave their bed. Isolation worsens depression. Find a way to get your teen to go out and socialize.
  • Practice healthy habits – lifestyle can affect mood. So your teen has to eat right, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Processed food can make your teen feel tired and sluggish. Regular exercising delivers a rush of endorphins, which can make you happier instantly. And lack of sleep may make them irritable.

And talk about time spent on social media. The association between social media and depression in young people is something to think about. Whether your teen spends more time on Twitter and Instagram or Facebook, these platforms give way to distorted body image, online harassment, and sleep disturbance.

Establish clear boundaries about using mobile phones at the dinner table, when you’re talking to one another, and when you’re out as a family. Set a realistic goal for each one in decreasing time on social media. Then replace the time they spent online with engaging activities, like hiking and volunteering at the local animal shelter.

Living with depression is challenging, especially for teens and young adults. Professional help allows you to understand the condition better. So get the help your teen needs today.

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