Why is kids' mental health declining?

Over the past four or five decades, children and teens' freedom to play, roam, and do any activity without adult supervision has gradually but significantly declined.

Anxiety, despair, suicidal ideation, and teen suicides have steadily increased during these decades. All of these are eight to 10 times higher than 50 years ago.

In a 2019 CDC survey, 36.7 percent of U.S. high school students reported persistent sadness or hopelessness, 18.8 percent seriously considered suicide, 15.7 percent made a suicide plan, 8.9 percent attempted suicide one or more times, and 2.5 percent attempted suicide requiring medical treatment

I have argued for years that the loss in independent activity and mental health is a cause-and-effect relationship (e.g. here and here). Lack of autonomy creates mental agony. 

David Lancy (an anthropologist who has studied children worldwide) and David Bjorklund (a developmental psychologist who has written textbooks on children's cognitive development). We uploaded it there so clinicians might talk to parents about children's independent activity demands.

 Because they develop mental capacities for coping with life's inevitable stressors. 

Children get the bravery, confidence, and skill to handle life's challenges with calmness and action rather than panic or depression by solving their own problems in independent activities.

Parents may organize times and places for their children to play in the neighborhood with minimal or no adult supervision. Parents may ask, “What would you like to do independently?” and then discuss how to do it safely.