New Study: rise in major depression among teens and young adults

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - A new study found, between the daily pressures and push teens and young adults experience - from academic responsibilities to social ones, there's a startling increase in major depression in 12 to 20-year-olds here throughout the U.S.

While anxiety and depression aren’t new struggles, the percentage of young people who say they’ve experienced major depressive episodes (MDE) is growing.

From 2005 to 2014, the Journal of Pediatrics found a 37% increase in the number of teens who reported they’ve experienced one of these major episodes.

By definition, a MDE lasts at least two weeks and is defined by a constant low mood 24/7.

During those two weeks, symptoms include: low self-esteem, loss of interest in normal enjoyable activities and problems with everyday things like: sleep, energy and concentration. 

Collin Kirdahy, a 21-year old student at Buffalo State College, knows this struggle all too well - he’s living it.

Collin was clinically diagnosed with Depression at 13-years-old and since then his battle to regulate and motivate has been just that, a battle.

“During those lows, it’s hard to do anything - find the will to get up, get dressed, go to class, do anything…it’s hard to explain and hard to overcome and I’m still trying. Thankfully I’ve developed relationships with my professors and I can just text them and say, I can’t make it today,” he said.

 The reality is, not every young person has access to treatment like Collin, nor support. 

National data and surveys report there haven’t been corresponding increases in mental health treatment, despite the rise in self reports and clinical diagnosis. Leaving youth, like Collin, to battle their illnesses and struggles on their own. 

Researchers found this disconnect has resulted;: under treatment, lack of treatment, or the wrong treatment for young people overall.

After three therapists and a series of medications, Collin said he now has an increased sense of self-awareness, which is why he’s choosing to share his story.

“Tomorrow may be better, but what if it’s not? You have to take care of yourself and you have to realize that after those two or three weeks, you will get out of the darkness and life will have continued,” he said.

Collin credits his love for art, family, and friends as light in the darkness of his depression and encourages young people to find their own light during those difficult times.

As for adults, he said, “we need to encourage young people to get the help they need, we need to talk openly about mental health issues and provide treatment - of all sorts. Schools, communities, home settings, there need to be options for kids, because it’s just too much,” he expressed.

Today, Collin is a study activist and works hard to help provide comfort and bring awareness to mental health issues, both on campus and in throughout the community.

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