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Happiness in young people in the United States is falling, according to the 2024 World Happiness Report.

The United States ranks 10th in happiness out of 143 countries for people 60 and older. It ranks 62nd in happiness out of 143 countries for people 30 and younger. When comparing the numbers taken from 2006-10 to those taken in 2021-23, happiness fell by twice as much in young people as it did in older people in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Mental health professionals in North Carolina say they are seeing the impacts of increasing mental health issues in youth.

The Alexander Youth Network has campuses in Greensboro and Charlotte, serving children 5 to 17 years old. The nonprofit offers facility-based crisis care, residential treatment and day treatment.

Ashley Sparks is the executive director of the Child and Adolescent Facility-Based Crisis Center in Greensboro. She says she is seeing more 7- to 10-year-olds who are having suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

“We talk a lot about social media and that instant access. We weren’t really designed to carry the weight of the judgments and opinions of everyone around us,” Sparks said. “It used to just be your family and a handful of friends, but I think now with social media that’s at your fingertips.”

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