DOI: 10.1097/nmd.0000000000001734 ISSN: 1539-736X

Addressing the Increasing Mental Health Distress and Mental Illness Among Young Adults in the United States

Mary F. Brunette, Matthew D. Erlich, Matthew L. Edwards, David A. Adler, Jeffrey Berlant, Lisa Dixon, Michael B. First, David W. Oslin, Samuel G. Siris, Rachel M. Talley
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Recent surveys show rising numbers of young people who report anxiety and depression. Although much attention has focused on mental health of adolescent youth, less attention has been paid to young people as they transition into adulthood. Multiple factors may have contributed to this steady increase: greater exposure to social media, information, and distressing news via personal electronic devices; increased concerns regarding social determinants of health and climate change; and changing social norms due to increased mental health literacy and reduced stigma. The COVID-19 pandemic may have temporarily exacerbated symptoms and impacted treatment availability. Strategies to mitigate causal factors for depression and anxiety in young adults may include education and skills training for cognitive, behavioral, and social coping strategies, as well as healthier use of technology and social media. Policies must support the availability of health insurance and treatment, and clinicians can adapt interventions to encompass the specific concerns and needs of young adults.

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