Declining happiness, rising antidepressant use in teens

Declining happiness, rising antidepressant use in teens

For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. has fallen out of the top 20 “world’s happiest countries.” A decrease in happiness among young people played a significant role in these findings, according to the 2024 World Happiness Report. This comes just a few weeks after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new study indicating that antidepressants are on the rise among teens and adolescents.

Adolescence is a critical stage in development. Dr. Alexandria Holliday, an adolescent medicine physician at Advocate Children’s Hospital, says navigating this period of life is especially difficult now more than ever.

“Most of us can remember being a teenager and how hard it was to navigate that transitional period from childhood to adulthood,” says Dr. Holliday. “While not much has changed over the years in that aspect, what’s changed for teens today is the prevalence of social media and how that plays a role in their development.”

Dr. Holliday says support is important. Here are a few of her tips to help your teen navigate this time in their life:

  • Follow your teen’s social media accounts. As they mature and get older, you can choose to monitor their social media less depending on their maturity.
  • Be an example for your teen. Whatever social media rules you set for them, make sure you follow them as well.
  • Have frequent check-ins with your teen about social media and life in general to keep them engaged in real time.
  • Encourage extracurricular activities. This can both limit their social media access while also allowing them to engage with their peers in person.

“Teenagers are resilient, and this generation of adolescents have so much more courage and resilience than I had at their age,” says Dr. Holliday. “With the right care and support, there is nothing teens and adolescents today can’t do.”

Are you trying to find a doctor? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. 

Related Posts


One Comment

  1. I work in outpatient Behavioral Health, and one of our providers specializes in pediatric psych. We have noticed this increase in depression and SI in young people. I am not surprised that social media plays a part in this. I was bullied in junior high by another girl, but when I went home, there was no social media, so I got a break from that bullying. Kids now are surrounded by social media 24/7. It really makes me sad.

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Lee Batsakis
Lee Batsakis

Lee Batsakis, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Children’s Hospital. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in public relations and has worked in health care since 2013. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.