In recent times there has been an increase in the surging reports of mental distress among American people. ERs throughout California are reporting a sharp increase in adolescents and young adults seeking care for a mental health crisis. In 2018, California ERs treated 84,584 young patients ages 13 to 21 who had a primary diagnosis involving mental health. That is up from 59,705 in 2012, a 42% increase, according to data provided by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. The 2018 polling, done on behalf of the American Psychological Association, also found that members of Generation Z, along with millennials, are more likely to report receiving treatment for mental health issues.
Many reports suggest that youth mental health crises are directly related to social media. Since social media is an ever-present window on peer activities that can exacerbate adolescent insecurities and open new avenues of bullying, youth are feeling more disconnected, judged, and pressured by their peers.
Another aspect of mental illness says that a large chunk (about 7.5 of every 100,000 young people aged 13 to 21 in California) of the ‘Generation-Z’ and millennial teens and young adults die because of suicide. Nationwide, suicides in that age range rose from 7.2 to 11.3 per 100,000 from 2008 to 2017. Members of Generation Z also report significant levels of stress about personal debt, housing instability and hunger, as well as mass shootings and climate change, according to the American Psychological Association survey.
Many California schools don’t devote enough resources to teach students how to cope with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Resources to prevent youth mental health crisis are often lacking. “We’re not doing a great job with catching things before they devolve into broader problems, and we’re not doing a good job with the prevention,” said Lishaun Francis, associate director of health collaborations at Children Now, an Oakland-based nonprofit.