FAMILY MATTERS: The teen mental illness epidemic is international

It is no secret that the mental health of teenagers and even younger children in New Zealand is deteriorating. The rates of suicide for young people in New Zealand are amongst the worst in OECD nations. Antidepressant medications dispensed to children and teenagers increased 53% in the past five years. Hospitalisations for mental and behavioural disorders have almost doubled since 2007. But this trend is not limited to New Zealand. Why did teen mental health fall off a cliff at the same time and in the same way in the USA, The UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand?

We speak to Zach Rausch, an Associate Research Scientist at New York University, Researcher at the Center for Humane Technology, and Lead Researcher for “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness”, a new book due out in March and authored by prominent social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. As part of his research, he has looked at the trends in New Zealand.

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