The statistics are more than sobering—they are downright alarming—and signal a severe mental health crisis among U.S. teens. Coined as the “Inner Pandemic,” depression, self-harm and suicide rates are exponentially rising among American adolescents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and adults ages 10-14 and 25-34.
In his recent article, “How to Help Teens Struggling With Mental Health,” New York Times writer Matt Richtel reported that “from 2001 to 2019, the suicide rate for American youngsters ages 10 to 19 jumped 40 percent, and emergency room visits for self-harm rose 88 percent.” His article provides caring and insightful guidance in the form of a Q&A on how to compassionately identify and address issues of anxiety and depression in adolescents.
How Can a Heart-Based Approach Help Struggling Teens?
Connecting with the heart can help teens discover inner connection and peace, overcome burdens, and find their way. Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D. shares:
“In my role as a psychologist, I have found that many children and youth are experiencing significant mental health challenges. Rather than their life feeling safe, peaceful, enjoyable, and nourishing, many are feeling isolated, very burdened, depressed, and anxious. Their mind is overly dominant and their heart is contracted. This disjointed reality in which the heart and mind are not synchronized is at the root of their distress.”
It does not have to be this way. Our heart is the key to our deepest transformation and our heart and mind serve us best when they are working together as a team. Even young people who are suffering from mental distress can learn, through the doorway of their hearts, to feel peaceful, calm, grateful, and happy.
Video resources for teens and parents
Dr. Rubenstein was recently interviewed at the 2022 Beloved Children Conference—Shaping the Future with an Inspired Generation. Watch these short video excerpts from his appearance for practical tips and insight on how children and youth can directly benefit from learning to live a heart-centered life.