There’s less stigma and our screening methods have improved since the 60s, but over the past decade, the rates of depression have doubled. The child and teen suicide rate has doubled while the stigma has largely dissipated, and we’re using screening methods that haven’t changed much since the 1980s. So, something else is happening.
I think the only thing that has really changed over the past decade is the ramp-up of hyper-comparison on social media and offline at our offices and schools. I don’t blame social media, but I do blame the constant comparison and hyper-competition within our schools as we’re pushing kids harder and harder. We’re seeing massive amounts of over-scheduling, more than an hour lost of sleep per teenager on average, compared to a few decades ago. This hyper-competition is leading to the idea that success and happiness are things you need to create on your own. As soon as you’re trying to do it alone, you’ve already limited yourself.
This comes back to this pack idea. We’re not designed to create success and happiness in isolation. If I have a success and don’t have anyone to tell about it on my team, it doesn’t feel as good as when I get to tell somebody about it, right?
I want to eliminate the anxiety caused by thinking that success is zero-sum and that we’re in this alone. I think if we can undo those misperceptions in our society, we can create a lot of positive change. If we can get people doing these positive habits, we could potentially halve the rates of depression. I went through depression myself, and positive habits are what pulled me out of it. I know these things statistically, but also in terms of my life experiences.