Well, I’m back in Minnesota now, but I’ve got a couple of more posts about the information I shared during the teacher training in Dallas last Saturday. I talked a bit about the Hardwired to Connect report, using some passages from a sermon I gave last year. Here’s the gist of it:
According to Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities (a report by The Commission on Children at Risk), the “mental and behavioral health of U.S. children” is deteriorating.
We are witnessing high and rising rates of depression, anxiety, attention deficit/conduct disorders, thoughts of suicide, and other mental, emotional, and behavioral problems among U.S. children and adolescents.
According to the report, these “rising rates of mental and emotional problems among American young people raise a red flag about how well we are nurturing our kids.”
While many American young people are thriving, many more are not, and there are worrisome signs that as a society we are losing rather than gaining ground. Notwithstanding sustained increases in material well-being and important medical advances in the ability to treat depression and other mental disorders, the rate of serious mental and emotional disorders among American children and youth has been rising steadily. Eight percent of high school students have clinical depression, 20 percent report having seriously considered suicide during the past year, and, according to the Surgeon General, 21 percent of 9- to 17-year-olds have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that will cause at least minimum impairment. A recent study of mental health problems among college students at a large Midwestern university found that over the past 13 years, the number of students being seen for depression doubled, the number of suicidal students tripled, and the number of students seen after a sexual assault quadrupled.
“Numerous studies,” says Madeline Levine, author of The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids, “show that privileged adolescents are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse–rates that are higher than those of any other socioeconomic group of young people in this country.”