Do you know why today’s kids are struggling with depression? There are several reasons why this could be possible. But according to a new study, a big reason could literally be because of something in the air.
According to the American Psychological Association, increased ozone exposure due to air pollution has been linked to “depressive symptoms” in adolescents ages 9-13. Symptoms can include “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, difficulty with concentration, sleep disturbances, and thoughts about suicide” (SciTechDaily).
The four-year-long study involved kids ages 9-13 from the San Francisco Bay area. While collecting mental health Census data on the adolescents, they also collected environmental data from the California Environmental Protection Agency.
The only factor shared between the kids who experienced depressive symptoms was that they all lived where the ozone levels were consistently the highest.
Lead researcher Erika Manczak, Ph.D., said that air pollution disproportionately affects marginalized communities, therefore, high ozone levels could be contributing to health disparities (SciTechDaily). In addition to reducing air pollution overall, some experts recommend holding youth sports events indoors during periods of high air pollution.
Do you think today’s kids are more likely to deal with depression than past generations because of this? How can we prevent future generations from developing mental illnesses?