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She just couldn’t bear seeing the worry on their faces. Self-harm, which some experts say is on the rise, is perhaps the most disturbing symptom of a broader psychological problem: a spectrum of angst that plagues 21st century teens.For Faith-Ann, cutting was a secret, compulsive manifestation of the depression and anxiety that she and millions of teenagers in the U. Adolescents today have a reputation for being more fragile, less resilient and more overwhelmed than their parents were when they were growing up.Daniel Champer, the director of school-based services for Intermountain in Helena, Mont., says the one word he’d use to describe the kids in his state is overexposed.Montana’s kids may be in a big, sparsely populated state, but they are not isolated anymore.
It was 2 in the morning, and as her parents slept, she sat on the edge of the tub at her home outside Bangor, Maine, with a metal clip from a pen in her hand. “For a while I didn’t want to stop, because it was my only coping mechanism.
“I felt really extremely connected to that situation even though it was in L.
A.” That hyperconnectedness now extends everywhere, engulfing even rural teens in a national thicket of Internet drama.
Every fight or slight is documented online for hours or days after the incident. “We’re the first generation that cannot escape our problems at all,” says Faith-Ann. We’re getting this constant pressure, from our phones, from our relationships, from the way things are today.” Steve Schneider, a counselor at Sheboygan South High School in southeastern Wisconsin, says the situation is like a scab that’s constantly being picked.
“At no point do you get to remove yourself from it and get perspective,” he says.Phoebe Gariepy, a 17-year-old in Arundel, Maine, describes following on Instagram a girl in Los Angeles whom she’d never met because she liked the photos she posted. Phoebe later heard she’d been kidnapped and was found on the side of a road, dead.