Depressed teens turn to social media to cope

July 31, 2018 Maggie Fox, www.nbcnews.com

Type “I’m depressed” into an internet search engine such as Google and you might get a free online depression test. Click on #depression on Instagram, and you’ll get a prompt asking “Can we help?” and offering links for support.

Digital tech now plays a big role in the lives of teens and young adults with depression, a survey published Tuesday shows. For many, it’s their first stop.

At least 90 percent of teens and young adults with symptoms of depression said they had gone online for information about mental health issues, compared with 48 percent of those without any symptoms, according to the survey by Hopelab, a foundation set up to help young people with chronic illnesses, and the Well Being Trust, which is focused on mental, social and spiritual health.

The two groups commissioned a national survey of more than 1,300 people aged 14 to 22 in all 50 states. They also used a clinically validated depression screening tool so they could tell who among them might have symptoms of depression.

“This is the age when a lot of those symptoms are going to arise,” said Benjamin Miller, a clinical psychologist and chief strategy officer at the Well Being Trust.

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