The Dashing Depression Rate Among High Schoolers

“The total number of teenagers who recently experienced depression increased 59% between 2007 and 2017” (Geiger and Davis).  What does this mean exactly? In recent years, depression has become a mainstay in the life of high school students. This alarming statistic shows no sign of stopping. The bottom line is, why should you care? An astonishing 60% of suicidal individuals have some degree of depression (). According to a 2019 survey, 18.8% of students have considered suicide (Ivey-Stephenson et al.). Throughout this essay, I will present several disturbing statistics about how depression is becoming a prominent presence in the academic environment. The treacherous trend of depression among teenagers can be reversed. Throughout this essay, I will define the origin of the problem and equip you with the tools necessary to change your community for the better. Depression rates are increasing over time for high school students and this can be fixed by proposing a later starting time for schools, giving students the proper tools to cope with what they might be going through, and mandate an exercise program.

How Does Depression Rates of High Schoolers Compare To Other Groups of People in America?

To truly understand how unsettling depression among high schoolers is, it is important to compare the teenage demographic with the rest of America. An article from 2017 titled “Major Depression” surveyed Americans nationwide and queried them about their experiences with depression. Shockingly, it found that 17.3 million Americans eighteen years or older suffered from depression (para. 7). In contrast, it found that 3.2 million Americans between the ages of twelve and seventeen suffered from depression (para. 17). So, you might be wondering why this is a problem? When this data is compared to the total number of Americans, the same study  revealed that 13.3 percent (para. 18) of teenagers suffer from depression, compared to 7.1 percent (para. 8) of Americans eighteen or older. This highlights the disparity between the hold depression has on teens in comparison to adults. So now that you see how common it is for teenagers to fall prey to depression, now it is time to observe the crux of the matter. 

Alarming Link Between Lack of Sleep and Depression

Can the amount of sleep that a teenager has really play a key factor in their likelihood to develop depression? A statewide 2018 study found that seventy eight percent (Jenco) of high schoolers did not get enough sleep. So, nearly eight of ten teenagers in any given American high school does not get enough sleep. Why should students be expected to have a clear outlook on life when almost all of them are sleep deprived? When a teenager goes through puberty, their circadian rhythm changes. This is because the hormone that controls when our body sleeps, melatonin, is released at a later time. Wahlstrom explained that “the secretion of melatonin doesn't begin until about 10:45 p.m. and continues until about 8 a.m.” Puberty ensures that teenagers stay up later than any point prior in their life. This simple fact alone proves that from a scientific perspective, the teenage body is prone to staying up later than ever before. ”Data shows that poor sleep quality (PSQ) has a disturbing correlation to depressed individuals. Depressed adolescents are at “2.48 times higher odds for PSQ than those adolescents with non-depression” (Satitvipawee et al.). Shockingly, poor sleep quality makes depression extraordinarily more common among teenagers. Factoring in the above information, it is clear to see why depression plagues so many teenagers in comparison to older individuals. 



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