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Mental Health Issues Have Risen in Teens, Young Adults

Last Updated: March 15, 2019.

There has been a steady rise in mood disorder and suicide-related outcomes among individuals born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, according to a study published online March 14 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There has been a steady rise in mood disorder and suicide-related outcomes among individuals born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, according to a study published March 14 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., from San Diego State University, and colleagues used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (611,880 individuals), a nationally representative survey of U.S. adolescents and adults, to assess trends in mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes from 2005 to 2017.

The researchers found that the rate of major depressive episodes in the last year increased 52 percent from 2005 to 2017 (from 8.7 to 13.2 percent) among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years and increased 63 percent from 2009 to 2017 (from 8.1 to 13.2 percent) among young adults aged 18 to 25 years. There were also increases in serious psychological distress in the previous month and suicide-related outcomes (suicidal ideation, plans, attempts, and deaths by suicide) in the previous year among young adults aged 18 to 25 years from 2008 to 2017, with a 71 percent increase in serious psychological distress. Increases were weaker and less consistent among adults ages 26 years and older.

"Cultural trends contributing to an increase in mood disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors since the mid-2000s, including the rise of electronic communication and digital media and declines in sleep duration, may have had a larger impact on younger people, creating a cohort effect," the authors write.

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