Why the Mental Health Crisis among Youth?

By Lene Rachel Andersen

Why are unusually high numbers of young people suffering from anxiety and depression?

One explanation for the teen misery is social media: being online and constantly comparing yourself to the (apparent) success of others is stressful, and the vast majority of youth are bound to feel inadequate and not cool enough. This explains much of the suffering, but I think there is more to it.

Humans, particularly human children, need strong relationships. We need tightknit groups that know us and care about us, and we need commitment from and to others. We also need ‘social rhythms,’ recurring togetherness and emotionally deep ways of being together: meals, holidays, collaboration, celebration, rituals, and much more.

We have given a generation of young people social media but not social rhythms. Relationships are mediated by pixels, it is no longer the full body that engages in social relationships, such as sitting around a table together and enjoying a meal. We have deprived a generation of some of the most crucial parts of being human. No wonder they suffer!

How can education prevent social media overload and promote social rhythms and strong relationships instead?

Join the conversation at the European Bildung Day May 8-9 in Vilnius: https://www.globalbildung.net/ebd2023/

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