Mentions of gendered language in the source material.
As time goes on, mental health issues continue to rise. According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the most common reasons for disability. In addition, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among those ages 15 to 29. People who experience severe mental health conditions die earlier than those who don’t – even as much as two decades earlier. These deaths occur due to physical health conditions that could have been prevented.
Even though there has been some progress in mental health treatment in some countries, people who experience mental health conditions can still encounter human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma.
This article will explore the potential reasons for mental health issues being on the rise, who it impacts the most, and what you can do to seek help if you need it.
What Are Some Reasons for These Trends?
Mental health is rising for several reasons, too much to cover in a single article. However, here are some added pressures in our society that can contribute to mental health issues:
- Increased pressures on parents
- More usage of electronic media, aka Electronic Screen Syndrome
- More pressures in areas like education, finances, career, and more
- More exposure to world tragedies
- An increase in divisive news
- Airing of more violent TV programs, movies, and video games
- Showing more graphic children’s media
- An increase in sexually explicit material on TV, in the movies, in video games, and more
- Social media
- Less face-to-face interactions and social support
- The breaking up of the family unit
- LGBTQ+ struggles
- Being exposed to varying opinions online
- More exposure to aggressive behavior and an increase in child and adult abuse, sexual abuse, and more)
- Poor quality sleep
- Reduced parental contact
- A more individualized society
What Have Other Studies Found?
Many studies have researched mental health, and here is what they all found:
- A NYU Langone Medical Center study determined that more Americans suffer from severe psychological distress.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found “feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and restlessness that are hazardous enough to impair people’s physical well-being.”
- A National Survey On Drug Use And Mental Health study discovered that approximately 20 percent of the adult population suffers from some mental health condition. (It has increased by 18.1 percent in just a few years).
- Another 2010 National Institute Of Mental Health study found that mental disorders disproportionately affect youth. The study concluded that at least one type of mental disorder affects one in five youths.
- A study called the National College Health Assessment by the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) discovered that more students are reporting being in distress than they were four years prior. This study also determined an increase in students who seriously considered suicide, up 13 percent since 2013.
What Are the Most Common Mental Illnesses?
When we’re talking about mental health issues being on the rise, it’s about various mental health disorders. Some of the most common mental health conditions are as follows:
- Clinical depression ––an extreme form of depression where the person can feel regularly sad for weeks or months. Symptoms can include loss of joy or things that were once enjoyed, feeling unhappy or hopeless, low self-esteem, reduced appetite, and issues with sleeping. Depressive disorders, in general, impact millions of people worldwide every year.
- Anxiety –– is intense, persistent worries and fears and avoidance of anxiety-inducing situations. In some cases, it can lead to specific phobias and panic attacks.
- Bipolar disorders ––these disorders feature extreme mood disturbance. The two main types include Bipolar I, featuring episodes of mania and depression, and Bipolar II, more frequent periods of depression and less intense and less frequent manic episodes.
- Schizophrenia ––a severe long-term condition and includes a type of psychosis. Symptoms of this condition can include hallucinations, delusions, and more.
- Substance use disorders –– these impact millions of people globally ––become classified as a disorder when users of substances experience issues with control, compulsion, and withdrawal.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder ––this disorder can be caused by a traumatic and stressful event. The person can re-live this event for years. Symptoms include depression, loss of concentration, mood swings, disrupted sleep, and more.
These mental health conditions are just some of the most common – many others also exist.
What Groups Get Most Impacted by Mental Health Issues?
Mental health conditions can impact anyone. However, some groups are more likely to be affected than others. According to the charity Mind, these groups include:
- LGBTQ+ folks – are 2-3 times more likely to have a mental health condition –
- Black people –– 23% will have a mental health difficulty over a week compared to 17% of white British people
- Women ages 16-24 ––26% in any week
- Those who experience a substance use disorder, homelessness, and contact with the criminal justice system ––about 40%
The risk factors include:
- Inequality and disadvantages socially
- Social exclusion and discrimination
- Physical health differences
Did you know that there are many barriers to LGBTQ+ mental health care? Be sure to read our article Removing Barriers to LGBTQ+ Mental Health Care.
How To Get Help for Mental Health Issues
Taking care of your mental health is more essential than ever. If you have concerns about your mental health or someone else’s well-being, seek help. If you aren’t sure where to find resources, you can always ask a trusted loved one to help and support you.
If you or someone you know needs help with their mental health, it is essential to talk to a healthcare professional immediately. These practitioners can provide information on resources near you and give you a referral to a mental health specialist if it is needed.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help immediately. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. The lifeline is available 24/7 and is free and confidential.
LGBTQ and ALL have tons of mental health resources available that can help. Navigate our website to find articles, tools, and more.