‘High-Functioning Anxiety Isn’t a Medical Diagnosis. It’s a Hashtag.’


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‘High-Functioning Anxiety Isn’t a Medical Diagnosis. It’s a Hashtag.’

May 14, 2024, 5:00 a.m. ET
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Video by Amanda Su and Adam Westbrook

Ms. Su is an Opinion Video reporting fellow. Mr. Westbrook is an editor and producer with Opinion Video.

Soaring rates of anxiety and depression among adolescents. Medical groups declaring a “national emergency.” The surgeon general calling for an “all of society” response to a “devastating” mental health crisis among young people.

By all indications, kids these days are in rough shape, giving additional urgency to Mental Health Awareness Month, which began on May 1. But in the Opinion video above, Lucy Foulkes, an academic psychologist at Oxford University, argues that the problem may not be a lack of awareness but rather too much.

Amid an enormous societal push to destigmatize mental illness and encourage more conversation about emotions, young people have been flooded with mental health information on social media and elsewhere. But much of it is unreliable and counterproductive.

“I’m deeply concerned that this awareness craze,” Foulkes says, “is ironically making their mental health worse.”

Amanda Su (@amandaysu) is an Opinion Video reporting fellow. Adam Westbrook is a producer and editor with Opinion Video.

Opinion Video combines original reporting with creative storytelling to produce visually transformative commentary. Pitch a video Guest Essay here.

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