More than one in three students feel psychologically distressed, according to a survey reported in CBC News. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) surveyed more than 10,000 Ontario students in Grades 7 to 12 during the 2014-15 school year.
Talking about suicide without proper supports can be dangerous, experts say. But the number experiencing moderate to serious psychological distress — defined as symptoms of depression and anxiety on a standard screening tool — in the past month jumped to 34 per cent in 2015 from 24 per cent in 2013, said Robert Mann, senior scientist at CAMH.
“We often think of the adolescent years as the prime of life where you’re young, you’re healthy, and these data are telling us for many young people that’s not the case,” Mann said.
About one in five students reported visiting a mental health professional at least once during the last year, a marked increase from 12 percent in 1999. In the survey, 86 percent of students were on social media daily. About 16 percent spend five hours or more a day on social media.
Carlisle said while the stress of school performance and challenges of family and peer relationships have always existed, she wonders about the added pressures of social media’s constant nature. Young people often go to bed with their phones and have no downtime from social media. Social media’s power to scrutinize how we look and to publicize embarrassing moments can be a liability if young people forget to live in the moment as they Snapchat it, Carlisle said. That’s why schools and clinics emphasize mindfulness to manage emotions before they tip over into distress.