This rush of adrenaline came from wanting to change something. Not only I wanted to create the next generation of grateful, happy and flourishing children I wanted to change something else. That change is to reduce depression, anxiety, mental health issues and suicide rates in teens/young people.
Here are some alarming statistics and facts about depression, anxiety, mental health issues and suicide rates in teens/young people in Australia from BEYOND BLUE. These statistics percentage wise are similar in many countries through out the world.
- One in 16 young Australians is currently experiencing depression
Breakdown: 6.3% of Australians aged 16 to 24 have experienced an affective disorder in the last 12 months.i* This is equivalent to 180,000 young people today.^
- One in six young Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition
Breakdown: 15.4% of Australians aged 16 to 24 have experienced an anxiety** disorder in the last 12 months.ii This is equivalent to 440,000 young people today.
- One in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition
Breakdown: 26.4% of Australians aged 16 to 24 currently have experienced a mental health disorder in the last 12 months.iii This figure includes young people with a substance use disorder. This is equivalent to 750,000 young people today.
- Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the deaths of more young people than car accidents
Breakdown: 324 Australians (10.5 per 100,000) aged 15-24 dying by suicide in 2012. This compares to 198 (6.4 per 100,000) who died in car accidents (the second highest killer).iv
- Evidence suggests three in four adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24 and half by age 14
Breakdown: Half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders start by age 14 years and three fourths by age 24 years.v
- Young people are most concerned about coping with stress, school or study problems and body image in that order
Breakdown: The top issues of concern to young people in 2013 were, in order, coping with stress, school or study problems, body image, depression and family conflict.vi
- Concern about mental health among young people is growing
Breakdown: 15.2% identified mental health as a major issue facing Australia in 2013, up from 12.7% in 2012 and 10.7% in 2011.vii
- Young people see mental health as a more important issue than things such as the environment, bullying, education and employment
Breakdown: In 2013, young people saw mental health as a more important issue than things such as the environment, bullying, education and employment.viii
- A quarter of young Australians say they are unhappy with their lives
Breakdown: In 2013, almost one in four young people (24.3%) said they were sad, very sad or not happy when asked to report how happy they were with their life as a whole.ix
Who doesn’t want to see a reduction in rates of depression, anxiety and suicide?
Who would want to see their own students/children go through depression, anxiety and mental health issues?
Who wants a student/child who causes others to be depressed and anxious?
Looking back, these statistics have not reduced in decades.
Thanks to ground breaking research by Professors such as Martin Seligman, Shawn Achor, Barbara Frederickson and Sonja Lyubomirsky we know that we can train our brains to focus on positives that can reduce depression and anxiety.
Over the past 20 years many studies have found practicing gratitude, performing acts of kindness and exercising can reduce depression and anxiety.
But I thought, why do we still have such a high rate of depression, anxiety, mental health issues and suicide rates in teens/young people not only in Australia but in many parts of the world?
I realised one thing. How do we do it? How do we create the next generation of grateful, happy and flourishing children?
I realised children need to learn positive habits as early as possible in life. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon.
Imagine the world we would live in if children from the age of 4 or 5 start to:
- practice gratitude
- perform acts of kindness
- to serve other people
- read personal growth books
- think optimistically
- be mindful of the people and the world around them.
10 years of positive habits will see students reaching 14 and 15 years of age fully equipped and emmersed in a life of:
- serving others
But where does it start to reduce depression, anxiety, mental health issues and suicide rates in teens/young people?
It starts with teachers, it starts with parents and it starts with families modelling positive habits.
In numerous conversations with teachers and parents / caregivers I quickly realised a common theme was developing. How do we do this?
That’s why I am so passionate about the Growing With Gratitude Program. Both the Teacher Tactics and the Home Grown Gratitude resources make it easy to teach children positive habits.
Through Growing With Gratitude you will:
- Build strong class/family relationships with your students/children
- Create a classroom/home atmosphere of gratitude and happiness
- Equip students/children to make positive choices now and later in life
- See your students/children wanting to serve you and others out in the community
- See your students/children appreciation what they have rather than worry about what they don’t
- See your students/children develop a mindset of not giving up
If you found this of value I would appreciate it if you would be so kind to share.