By Hudson Crozier
A survey of 17,000 high school students by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that almost 60 percent of teenage girls were persistently depressed in 2021, the highest in a decade and double the rate for boys. One in three girls considered suicide.
What caused this? Some point to social media and the internet. The CDC reported that girls were almost twice as likely to be victims of cyberbullying, and social media has been connected to negative body image. However, the restrictions, social isolation, and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 have also been associated with poorer mental health for all ages.
Sexual orientation: As Gen Z has more people identifying as LGBT than any other generation, the CDC found that 69 percent of lesbian, gay, or bisexual teens were depressed, and one in five attempted suicide in the year before the survey.
The role of transgenderism: The survey didn’t ask about gender identity, so we don’t know how the data are affected by males identifying as female and vice versa, though transgender youth are a slim minority of the overall population. But we do know that gender dysphoria diagnoses for children rose 70 percent in 2021, and trans youth are far more likely to consider, attempt, and commit suicide than those of other gender identities.