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There are enough problems today to send a psychologist into therapy, especially if you’re a behavioral psychologist or psychotherapist who counsels children and teens. School psychologists, in particular, have a dizzying number of challenges to contend with.

Teachers have always been the key to a child’s development but now school psychologists are almost as essential. These psychologists have become the glue that holds a student together and helps a school function smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

To say children and teens are under a lot of pressure is putting It mildly. Peer pressure, post pandemic depression, escalating violence and the adverse effects of social media are all contributing factors– but they are symptoms of larger problems.

Presence.com, an online digital therapy service, reports that school psychologists regularly deal with students with disabilities, behavioral issues, family issues that affect their disposition, and students who are bullying or being bullied.

But even students who have none of these problems are facing increased pressures. Anxiety among boys and girls with no apparent symptoms have created a new wave of candidates who might need the services of a school psychologist.

Is The Internet and Social Media To Blame?

The impact of social media on youth can be extremely detrimental to mental health. Specifically, social media and teen depression are closely linked. And overuse exposes teens to cyberbullying, body image issues, and tech addiction, and that means less time spent doing healthy, real-world activities.

Social media is a big reason teen depression has increased over the last decade. Surveys show that teen depressive symptoms and suicide showed exponential increases, especially among females. Teenagers who spent more time on social media were more likely to have mental health issues. Those who spent more time on unplugged activities, like in-person social interaction, exercise, sports, homework, and books were less likely to experience these issues.

This theory has been confirmed by research linking teenagers’ use of social media with increased depression. For example, in a 2019 study, 14-to-17-year-olds who used social media seven hours a day were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with depression, and have been treated by mental health professionals, or taken medication for psychological or behavioral issues. 

The NIH (National Institute of Health) reports that teenagers’ use of ICTs (information and communication technologies) is worrying, especially with mobile devices like smartphones. Possible dysfunctional uses include self-phobia (fear or dread of oneself or of being alone, isolated, abandoned, and ignored) nomophobia (a psychological condition when people have a fear of being detached from mobile phone connectivity) overanxiety and sexting.

Are Parents To Blame?

You can partly blame this on the breakdown of our society, our violent culture and the absence or indifference of parents. The lack of a family sructure forces school administrators, teachers and psychologists to act as surrogates.

Here are some major problems a teenager faces, according to Brooke Schwartz Psychotherapy, a renowned health facility for young adults in Los Angeles:

  • Anxiety and perfectionism

          You navigate the world with extra weight on your shoulders. You struggle to cope with worries, nerves, and stress.

  • Trauma and PSTD

    You witnessed something traumatic and it’s hard to move forward. You’re experiencing trauma and PTSD symptoms          such as distressing memories, fear, anxiety, anger, numbness, depression, guilt, dissociation, flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, and hopelessness.

  • Depression

  Your motivation is low and you can’t find the energy to get through your day. You feel hopeless and disinterested in things that once brought you joy.

  • Self-Invalidation and low self-esteem

   You’re your own worst critic. You feel unworthy and out of place. You second guess and scrutinize your every move. You’re overwhelmed by your lack of confidence and feel like your best is never enough.

  • Suicide

  A few symptoms are a loss of interest in usual activities, withdraw from friends and family members, and start or increase alcohol and drug use. Youth suicide has increased significantly in the last decade, From 2013 through 2023, suicide rates for Americans ages 10 to 24 rose 62%.

It would be ideal for school psychologists to spend their time focusing on what they were trained to do: crisis prevention and intervention, counseling, school-wide planning, and parent education. Instead, they are burdened with an almost overwhelming set of problems mentioned above that many students are trying to cope with every day.