Teen girls who share their melancholia online reshaping what it means to be depressed
Among the more than 140 million blogs on Tumblr, young girls are trending tags like “self-harm,” “depression” and “sadness.”
In a feature article in The Atlantic, girls in these social media communities post black and white photos of themselves staring off into space with quotes like “I want to die a lovely death.”
A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration in 2012 found that from 2008 to 2010, 12 percent of teenage girls between 12 and 17 suffered major depressive episodes, which is three times higher than their male counterparts.
Dr. Stan Kutcher, an adolescent psychiatry expert and the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health, said while some girls on Tumblr suffer depression, many others are looking for validation and acceptance into a community. “In this waterfall of information there is a lack of critical understanding,” Kutcher told The Atlantic. “You see kids self-identifying as having that depression, but they don’t have a depression. They’re upset, or they’re demoralized, or they’re distressed by something.”