Scott Tibbs

Teenage depression during the best time in history

By Scott Tibbs, February 27, 2023

American teenagers today live in the most free, most prosperous time in world history. They have advantages today that I could not dream about when I was in high school, and that was only 34 years ago. Yet millions of teens are deeply depressed. An alarming percentage of teenagers contemplate suicide on a regular basis.


Some of this is hormones. Your body and brain are going through significant changes and your relationship to your peers - especially of the opposite sex - is changing. Teenagers are notoriously moody. It has not been so long since I was a teenager that I do not remember what I felt like back then, and there are things that are difficult about being a teenager. But that does not explain why in the 2020's teenagers are reporting significantly more depression and suicidal tendencies than they have in previous generations.

There are a number of factors that give this time in history unique challenges. Closing schools and depriving teenagers of in-person contact with peers, not to mention out-of-school activities and extended family, was a problem and we will be repairing the damage of that for a while. But even with those things considered we are, once again, living in the most free, most prosperous time in world history. So what is happening?

Put simply, our nation has abandoned God and we have lost purpose. Church attendance is falling, especially among the young. We have replaced hope in something eternal with something much worse: An obsession with the self. We are a navel-gazing culture now, and it is ironically the expanded connectivity of social media that has encouraged even more self-obsession. But all of us, deep down, know we are deeply wicked and deserving of judgment. Focusing on ourselves only magnifies that knowledge. Of course people would be depressed when thinking about themselves all the time.

The only solution is revival: Turning away from sin and turning to Jesus Christ. Putting our hope in something greater than ourselves and the forgiveness of our sins is the only true path to happiness in this world. It is also important to recognize all of our blessings and to be thankful for them.

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