Under pressure: Report shows anxiety and depression among teens growing issue

    Teen, girl, depression, anxiety, pressure, high school, generic (MGN)

    A PEW Research report shows 70 percent of teens see anxiety and depression as a major issue among themselves and peers.

    A number that didn't shock high school seniors Chandler McCune or Carlie Blankenship.

    “Society puts a lot of pressure on the younger generation. Growing up, we had a lot of pressure from social media alone. We are one of the first generations to experience social media," Blankenship said.

    The list of pressures is a lengthy one. PEW Research found 61 percent of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades.

    Something McCune understands as he anxiously awaits for answers from the almost 20 colleges he applied to.

    “Having the pressure of saying you need to go to these colleges and you need to take these classes and it can be very overwhelming," he said.

    Almost 30 percent of teens surveyed said they feel a lot of pressure to fit in and to look good.

    “How much I want people to accept me. My image alone is something I struggle with. This past year alone I lost a lot of weight and changed a bunch of things about myself. Noticing that people are noticing it too makes me feel a little overwhelmed," Blankenship said.

    The growing list of pressures is something licensed counselor and registered play therapist Ellen King says is why she thinks anxiety and depression are on the rise among teens and children.

    She said things like social media and technology play a role, as well as the pressures in school.

    The CDC reports the number of children and teens suffering from anxiety and depression is on the rise.

    But fixing the problem isn't simple.

    “The biggest challenge right now as a mental health provider in combating this issue is there are not enough providers trained to deal properly with the adolescent and child population," she said.

    Latoya Simmons, a Rehabilitation Behavior Heath Services (RBHS) clinical counselor for Horry County Schools, agrees. There aren't enough people to help.

    "I feel that if our students had more resources, we could probably see a decrease in the stress level in the school setting," she said.

    Simmons said it's important for teens to have a trusted adult to turn to because teens are going through a lot of different things.

    “Take social media, that’s the biggest thing I deal with, just what I deal with at school is peer pressure, bullying behavior. With the internet and social media, you have a lot of kids bullying other kids, posting things that are inappropriate," she said.

    HCSD added eight more RBHS counselors this school year and hope to add three more next year. The board will vote on that proposal this summer.

    To read more from the CDC, click here. To read the full PEW Research Center report, click here.

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