Mental health cases around the world have been increasing dramatically over the years, and specialists are growing more concerned. Data has shown that over ten percent of the world’s population has suffered from a mental disorder, with reports stating the one in six Americans currently suffering from one form of mental disease or another.
However, perhaps the most disconcerting figure with regards to this issue is how young those being afflicted with mental disorders are. Reports indicate that 1 in 8 people aged between 5 and 18 has a mental condition that can be diagnosed by a specialist.
How fast mental disorder rates have been rising over the years can also be quite worrisome. A study made in 2019 that the reported increase in cases were as much as 78% per year, with the largest age group affected being those between 20 and 21. Rates for other ages, with the exception of those 65 and older, rose as well.
The figures mentioned above do not include those who did not seek specialist help, making these numbers understated at best. For this reason, it can be said that mental health issues are a problem that is widespread and must be controlled worldwide.
This article aims to discuss the probable reasons on as to why mental health cases are increasing as well as the initiatives that we can do to reduce the risk of these conditions from occurring.
What are Mental Health Disorders?
Mental health disorders cover a range of conditions wherein a sufferer does not react normally to specific social situations. There may also be subject to sudden and unprovoked mood swings ranging from inappropriate or manic joy to misery, rage, or even fear.
Examples of the most common types of mental disorders are the following:
- Anxiety/Panic Attacks
- Bipolar Disorder
- Substance Abuse
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Mental health issues can drastically alter the lifestyle of the sufferer – emotionally, socially, financially, and physically. There is also a stigma within society whenever they are made aware of mental health issues despite initiatives to correct myths and misconceptions about the matter.
For the reasons mentioned above, not only does a person suffer from multiple facets due to a mental disorder, but seeking professional help as well as admitting to himself and to others around him that he is sick can be a very difficult process. That is why knowing trigger points, symptoms, and how to provide help is absolutely critical.
Probable Reasons for Rising Cases of Mental Disorders
One of the main reasons why there have been more recorded cases of mental health issues each year may be due to increases awareness and more people being tested. However, this may not be the only reasons. Experts have proposed different theories on why mental disorder rates have been steadily increasing over the years.
While there is no irrefutable proof that the factors listed below are directly responsible for the rising figures, there is some merit to these claims as an increase in these numbers also correlate to incidences of mental disorders for each particular demographic.
As such, a connection between the factors listed below and mental illness is highly plausible.
Increase In Usage of Social Media
The rapid increase of social media has made communication possible. However, this can be detrimental to mental health as well as a blessing. Due to communication being completely online, physical interaction has drastically decreased, and this has resulted in social activities such as sports and even actual physical contact to be diminished.
This detached mentality is not the only reason that the popularity of social media can cause the prevalence of mental issues. News around the world as well as in their connections’ personal lives can easily be found online and shared.
Depressing information such as wars, acts of violence, or disease outbreaks can deeply affect a person’s emotions. Moreover, news or updates about a friend, whatever the motive, may have a negative impact on a person’s mental state, whether it be due to envy, jealousy, or a feeling that you can’t measure up to others.
Social Stigma Regarding Homosexuality
Estimates show that those who identify as LGBTQ are more susceptible to mental health issues. This can be due to a number of factors such as a feeling of letting people down, a lack of acceptance, bullying, and discrimination.
Those who are in the closet or in denial of their true sexuality are also at high risk of substance abuse and depression. Suicide rates are also high for LGBTQ people; in fact, research that those who identify as LGBTQ are five times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexuals, with the youth being more at risk.
Multiple Opportunities for Bullying
Bullying has also been a significant issue over the years. More and more people are being bullied, both personally and online. This can range from physical to verbal attacks and can be done individually or by a group. This, compounded by a lack of support from peers and those in authority, can lead to mental problems down the road.
There have been many incidences of people developing mental disorders, primarily depression and anxiety. Many have also committed or have attempted suicide, some of which have been covered by mainstream media and has caused some form of awareness and initiatives against bullying.
There are also other factors that many believe are reasons why mental health cases are rising. These include lack of sleep and physical activity, as well as a lifestyle that does not promote good health. This affects not only the body in the physical sense, but can affect the chemical makeup of the brain as well.
Aside from these, other reasons for mental health problems would be trauma and negative incidences caused by recent economic and financial downturns, as well as the high rates of divorce. All of these can possibly play a big part in the growth of mental illnesses around the world.