Treatment for Depression: Smartphones May Be Worsening the Issue

Smartphones–one is practically in every American teen’s pocket. Nearly 3 in 4 teens own or have access to a smartphone. So, you’re probably thinking: “What does this have to do with treatment for depression?” Well, it seems like smartphones could be linked to causing depression in the first place.
We have never experienced the level of connectivity and media exposure that we have today. While it has improved lives, it’s also becoming clear that there are downsides we need to address.
During adolescence, we shape our self-identity. It’s one of the most essential and most vulnerable moments of our lives. What we form into in adolescence is difficult to completely change in adulthood–and social media may be warping self-identity.

Social media can interfere with self identity & confidence

Tons of studies have found a strong link between body image and the media. The media tends to portray things in a “perfect” light. A girl or boy with the “perfect” body, the “perfect” brands, the “perfect” house, the “perfect” family–even though this person can never exist.
iphone 2618730 1280But young minds–and even older ones–take this made-up image and compare it to themselves. Thus creating issues with self identity and confidence when they can’t meet this “perfect” standard (shocker).
Social media can be used for good, I’m not saying it can’t be, but it’s a double-edged sword. Not only can it be a platform for cyberbullies, but it can rise to an obsessive level of usage. Constantly scrolling through images of celebrities and wishing you had the looks, fame, and things that they do–even though the digital version they’re displaying isn’t showing the “real” them.
Certain public figures and celebrities have made moves to combat this issue, such as Prince Harry. The royal figure has pushed to put mental health in the media and draw attention to how common it is. Unfortunately, a few people taking action isn’t enough to change the game–but it’s certainly a start.

Could the spike in youth depression be related to smartphone use?

Over six years, 2010 to 2016, the number of teens who went through at least one major depressive episode increased by 60 percent. Along with this, suicide rates for youths, ages 10 to 19, have spiked–especially among young women, hitting a 40-year high.
So researchers are asking: Is the increased demand for treatment for depression linked to the tech in our children’s pockets? The answer is maybe. They’ve discovered that teens who spend the majority of their time on technology are more likely to experience serious depression.  
Overall, it’s clearly important for us to watch our children’s smartphone use. Seek out tips and advice to create constructive rules to help manage the time spent on technology–your child’s health depends on it.

Trails Carolina offers treatment for depression

Searching for the right program that fits your struggling teen can be a lengthy process. If traditional outpatient therapies aren’t offering improvements, it might be time to look into a wilderness therapy program like Trails Carolina.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for teens, ages 10 to 17, struggling with issues such as depression, defiance, anxiety, ADHD and many others. We strive to create meaningful change within our students through the use of individual, group, family, equine and wilderness therapy. We can help your family recover.
For more information about treatment for depression at Trails, contact us today at 800-975-7303.

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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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