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Growing Depression in Children and Young Adults

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“Something in modern life is undermining mental health… Specifically… young people’s mental health, especially girls” (Quartz, March 21, 2016). Teenagers “in the 2010s were twice as likely to see a professional for mental health issues than those in the 1980s; more teens struggled to remember things in 2010-2012 compared to the earlier period; and 73% more reported trouble sleeping compared to their peers in the 1980s… In the UK, the number of teenagers (15-16) with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s and a recent survey found British 15-year-olds were among the least happy teenagers in the world” (ibid.). A Boston College researcher noted “… if progress is measured in the mental health and happiness of young people, then we have been going backward at least since the early 1950s” (ibid.). Another researcher said “My hypothesis is that the generational increases in externality, extrinsic goals, anxiety, and depression are all caused largely by the decline, over that same period, in opportunities for free play and the increased time and weight given to schooling” (ibid.).

The Bible offers an encouraging vision of God’s Kingdom—a time when children will be happy and at peace. They will “play in the streets” with their grandparents looking on in a marvelously peaceful setting (Zechariah 8:4-6). For a more detailed picture of God’s coming Kingdom, read or listen to our free booklet The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?