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What's driving the youth mental health crisis?
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April 25, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Fuzzy

Good morning. Small talk about the weather is 100% justified today. What a beautiful weekend—hope you were able to get outside for at least part of it.

Neal Freyman

MARKETS: YEAR-TO-DATE

Nasdaq

12,839.29

S&P

4,271.78

Dow

33,811.40

10-Year

2.904%

Bitcoin

$39,709.86

Meta

$184.11

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 7:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: It might be time to stop grouping FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) stocks together, since Netflix and Facebook, now called Meta, have lost most of their gains from the past five years. Remember when Facebook hit the $1 trillion market cap club in 2021? Now it's worth $533 billion.
  • World: French President Emmanuel Macron, the man who launched 1 million memes, cruised to reelection yesterday. He defeated far-right challenger Marine Le Pen, who is an EU skeptic and was cozy with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

HEALTH

The youth mental health crisis mystery

Students move across the Heritage High School campus between class periods on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Brentwood, Calif. Aric Crabb/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images

Note: This article describes self-harm, depression, and suicide among US teens. Here are resources for those dealing with these issues.

America's youth are in the midst of a spiking mental health crisis, and public health experts are racing to identify the root causes before it gets even worse.

First, the stats: Between 2009 and 2021, the share of American high school students who said they feel "persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness" jumped from 26% to a record 44%, per a new CDC study. For adolescents ages 10 to 19, emergency room visits for self-harm jumped 88% from 2001 to 2019.

Recent reports from the NYT and The Atlantic examined the issue of worsening mental health among American youth. Here are some takeaways:

It was happening before the pandemic. The mental health crisis isn't just a Covid lockdown story. By 2018, suicide rates for people aged 10–24 jumped almost 60% after plateauing from 2000 to 2007. And the share of adolescents reporting a major depressive episode jumped 60% between 2007 and 2019.

The pandemic did make it worse. Covid, and resulting restrictions on socializing, took rising feelings of loneliness and depression and supercharged them. Citing a "shocking" 45% increase in the number of self-injury and suicide cases in 5- to 17-year-olds in the first half of 2021, a coalition of children's hopsitals and physicians urged Congress to "treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is."

The connection to social media isn't clear. Much criticism has been heaped upon social media companies for fueling the teen mental health crisis. But a large study of more than 84,000 people of all ages in Britain found that the relationship between social media use and teen well-being was "fairly weak," according to the NYT. However, heavy social media use does generate lower reports of life satisfaction at certain ages: 11–13 for girls, 14–15 for boys, and again at age 19 for both sexes.

Big picture: What makes the crisis so perplexing is that, by some behavioral measures, high schoolers are doing a lot better than they used to. Cigarette use has plunged. Binge drinking is down. The use of illicit drugs, such as OxyContin, has nose-dived over the past few decades. So has the teen birthrate. The public health threats for teens that were top-of-mind in previous decades have given way to a slew of new risks that may work together—and reinforce each other—in ways researchers are still trying to understand.

        

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

A blue pill in a bird nest Dianna "Mick" McDougall

That poison pill didn't taste so good. Twitter is reevaluating Elon Musk's bid to buy the company for $43 billion, the WSJ reported. Apparently Musk's ability to come up with $46.5 billion in financing changed leadership's thinking from vehemently opposed to "OK, maybe we should negotiate." The two sides were expected to meet yesterday.

China builds Covid fences. Shanghai authorities were seen erecting green fences around residential areas in an apparent attempt to keep people in the locked-down city from leaving their homes. Many already frustrated citizens went on social media to express their outrage. The protest song "Do You Hear The People Sing?" from Les Misérables received more than 90 million mentions on WeChat Saturday, according to Reuters.

The US sent a high-level delegation to Ukraine: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv yesterday, according to a Ukrainian official. They're the most senior-ranking US officials to visit the city since Russia's invasion, though many top European leaders have already been to Kyiv to talk with Zelensky.

        

REAL ESTATE

Bezos gets his own national monument

Amazon's Helix in NoVa Amazon

When it was drawing up blueprints for its HQ2 in Northern Virginia, Amazon looked at the DC skyline and said, "You know what this needs? More tall pointy buildings."

Those dreams got the green light on Saturday, when Arlington County lawmakers unanimously approved Amazon's plan to build a part of its new corporate headquarters in Pentagon City. While the centerpiece is that glass Helix, the blueprints also include a child-care facility, 2.75 acres of open space, retail, and three office buildings.

But, yeah, back to the Helix. It'll stand at 350 feet tall, and feature a walkable ramp flanked by greenery to simulate a mountain hike. If you're bored of Rock Creek Park, the Helix will be open to the public on weekends.

Big picture: The approval marks the culmination of a 14-month review process, wherein opponents raised concerns that Amazon's campus would supercharge the housing affordability crisis. Ultimately, though, Arlington County found that the economic benefits of bringing 25,000 tech jobs to a previously undeveloped area outweigh the potential drawbacks.

        

CALENDAR

The week ahead

A woman poses for a picture with a cardboard cutout of Warren Buffett Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

"Woodstock for capitalists": Berkshire Hathaway will hold its annual shareholders meeting in-person in Omaha, NE, for the first time since 2019. Warren Buffett is facing more pressure than usual: CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the US, said it will vote to replace the Oracle as chairman of the board.

Earnings: The No. 1 goal for companies reporting earnings this week? Don't pull a Netflix. It'll be a heavy slate, with about one-third of the S&P 500 spilling their Q1 secrets, including Apple, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Twitter, and McDonald's. Expect insight into how the war in Ukraine, inflation, and ongoing supply chain bottlenecks are affecting business.

Economic data: Keep your eyes peeled for the Q1 GDP number to drop on Thursday, and the personal consumer expenditures index (the Fed's preferred inflation measure) on Friday.

Everything else:

  • Employees at another Amazon facility in Staten Island will begin voting in a union election today. A few weeks ago, a fulfillment center across the street became the first Amazon facility to unionize.
  • Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) is on Wednesday evening.
  • The NFL Draft is on Thursday. The Jacksonville Jaguars have the No. 1 pick for the second year in a row.
        

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

A U-Haul truck Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Stat: Earlier this month, police searching for the NYC subway shooting suspect said they were looking for a U-Haul with Arizona plates, which seems odd for a vehicle in New York. But it's not: Every single one of the ~175,000 U-Haul rental trucks in the US and Canada sports Arizona license plates. The company is based in Phoenix, AZ, and registers all of its trucks in the state.

Quote: "We did not see a massive influx of retail investors into crypto after the Super Bowl ads."

Maybe Matt Damon isn't as big an influencer as we thought. Noelle Acheson, head of market insights at digital asset broker Genesis Trading, told the FT that crypto trading remained quiet in the weeks following the crypto-ad blitz at the Super Bowl. In these uncertain times, investors are shying away from riskier assets.

Watch: Why are TV cameras still huge and expensive? (Zebra Zone)

        

BREW'S BETS

Dive back into the week:

What does a 21st century factory look like? Well, first of all, lots of robots. Here's a drone's-eye view of Tesla's brand-new Giga Berlin.

How you redefine the chicken sandwich: pickles pickle chips, sauce aioli, cheese parmesan crisps, bread buttery brioche roll. That's what you get with Panera's new Chef's Chicken Sandwich. Order in the Panera app for a $1 delivery fee.*

67% of investors regret impulsive decisions. That's why billionaires park their money with "quantitative" hedge funds that invest with ~algorithms~, not emotions. Enter Composer: the no-code super app that unleashes the power of quant in your portfolio, no PhD required. Brew readers get priority access here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Elon Musk spent his weekend stirring up beef with fellow mega-billionaire Bill Gates over Gates's apparent short position in Tesla.
  • Jack Dorsey has a new title: Block Head. He's no longer "CEO" of his payments company.
  • The NFL is encroaching on the NBA's turf, announcing it will play games on Christmas Day for the first time ever (it's a Sunday this year).
  • The Perseverance rover captured a dramatic solar eclipse on Mars.

GAMES

The puzzle section

Turntable: Take your pick of the classic, untimed version of Turntable or the new version that challenges you to hit a points threshold in under five minutes.

Click here for the classic version.

Click here for the timed version.

T9 trivia

For today's trivia, let's go back to your T9 texting days. Which of the following telephone keys is displayed correctly?

Phone keyboard quiz

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ANSWER

8. TUV is correct

         

Written by Neal Freyman

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