In a study from the year 2000, psychologist Dr. Jean Twenge performed a meta-analysis of anxiety in schoolchildren and college students in order to track the development of anxiety and depression generation to generation. She found that more than forty years ago in 1980, “typical schoolchildren” reported more anxiety than did child psychiatric patients in the 1950s. This finding led Dr. Twenge, prophetically to posit that “the results of the study suggest that cases of depression will continue to increase in the coming decades, as anxiety tends to predispose people to depression.
Some twenty years after her study, amid sound bite after sound bit elucidating the grisly details of the medicated, anxious, suicidal, and depressed world our young people are inhabiting, it can be easy to find ourselves heaving and curried under the weight of what we have done to them. The National Institutes of Health recently reported that nearly one in three adolescents aged thirteen to eighteen will experience an anxiety disorder, and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death in American youth ages ten to twenty-four. This represents, disturbingly, a tripling of the suicide rate in this population from 2007 to 2017.
The kids are, clearly, not all right.
From “It’s Not You, It’s Everything: What Our Pain Reveals about the Anxious Pursuit of the Good Life” by Eric Minton