The Young and Vulnerable2022-06-04

Everyone has their moments of solitude, difficulties, and vulnerability.

Cai Guo-Qiang

There is an epidemic, indeed a pandemic, of youth mental health problems. Anxiety, depression, suicidality, psychotic breaks, are all on the rise in adolescents and young adults. Why, and what to do about it?

Biologically, psychologically, and socially, youth is the period of highest plasticity, of developing brains and bodies, with many rapid changes and adaptations to the environment. The environment and activities youth are engaged in have changed dramatically and rapidly, from a decrease in real- world physical activities to an increase in screen-based online time. The decreased physical resilience and bombardment with addictive and often times deleterious informational stimuli have created a perfect storm.

How to reverse this trend? By addressing its root causes. Increasing physical and real-world activities, decreasing screen and online time, and providing social integration and grounding. Youth sports, orchestra, and family dinners are now more important than ever. Spending time outdoors in nature daily. Screens are here to stay, but replacing addictive and non-nourishing apps with some that provide a mission statement, gratitude journaling, inspirational quotes, insights on what activities make you happy is a way to transform a challenge into an opportunity. We have created such an app, Life x Mind, and are constantly working on ways to make it better. Feedback from users much appreciated.

Live. Happier. Longer.