START + Johnson County Mental Health

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As mental health professionals, the staff at Johnson County Mental Health Center are hyper aware of how unhealthy tech use can negatively impact the families they serve—oftentimes creating a barrier in relationships, which are essential for recovery. This week, we were given the privilege of bringing our START program to their staff, and together we considered the role technology has played in exacerbating the side effects they are seeing— like ones that recently surfaced in a survey over 600,000 Americans, performed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • From 2009 to 2017, major depression among 20- to 21-year-olds more than doubled, rising from 7 percent to 15 percent.

  • Depression surged 69 percent among 16- to 17-year-olds.

  • Serious psychological distress, which includes feelings of anxiety and hopelessness, jumped 71 percent among 18- to 25-year-olds from 2008 to 2017.

  • Twice as many 22- to 23-year-olds attempted suicide in 2017 compared with 2008, and 55 percent more had suicidal thoughts.

  • The increases were more pronounced among girls and young women. By 2017, one out of five 12- to 17-year-old girls had experienced major depression in the previous year.

It is a privilege to work closely with this awesome organization, equipping them to navigate this issue and help families in our community find a healthy tech-life balance. Thanks, Johnson County!


Krista Boan