Teens and Depression, Worldwide


Two days ago (May 14, 2014) the WHO, World Health Organization, released a report “Health for the world’s adolescents”. The report is based on comprehensive research on the health situation of adolescents all over the world, in over 100 countries.

Adolescents are defined as the 10-19 age group, in other words, teens. There are 1.2 billion adolescents on planet Earth (1 in every 6 persons).

I just want to show you some parts of the WHO report that I think will speak for themselves.

First, these two lists:

    Top Causes of Illness and Disability in Adolescents:

  1. Depression
  2. Road traffic injuries
  3. Anaemia
  5. Self-harm
  6. Back and neck pain
  7. Diarrhoea
  8. Anxiety disorders
  9. Asthma
  10. Lower respiratory infections


    Top Causes of Deaths in Adolescents:

  1. Road traffic injuries
  3. Suicide
  4. Lower respiratory infections
  5. Violence
  6. Diarrhoea
  7. Drowning
  8. Meningitis
  9. Epilepsy
  10. Endocrine, blood, immune disorders


And a few quotes:

“An estimated 1.3 million adolescents died in 2012, mostly from preventable or treatable causes.”

“Half of all mental health disorders in adulthood appear to start by age 14, but most cases are undetected and untreated.”

“Depression is the top cause of illness and disability among adolescents and suicide is the third cause of death. Violence, poverty, humiliation and feeling devalued can increase the risk of developing mental health problems.
Building life skills in children and adolescents and providing them with psychosocial support in schools and other community settings can help promote good mental health. Programmes to help strengthen ties between adolescents and their families are also important. If problems arise, they should be detected and managed by competent and caring health workers.”


Not very surprisingly, the WHO notes that many later problems in adulthood (addictions, for example) may be prevented by tackling the same problems earlier in adolescence.

Therefore, they urge all countries to pay more attention to this particular age group in their governmental health policy.

To be honest, I’m left with the question: will this help, a well-meaning report like this? Will it really awaken politicians and other influential people? Will it have any effect?

Well, I guess these cynical questions indicate that right now I am feeling rather depressed myself. Yes, I am.

Some links for further reading, should you want to:

1 Response to “Teens and Depression, Worldwide”

  1. 1 Ziekteninfo May 19, 2014 at 16:44

    I hope that every government pays more attention to this kind of serious problems.

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