Pernicious media motivations aside, I believe the growing number of articles reporting on the rise in mental health problems and despair reflect an observable reality. The number of depressed and discouraged people in the world is certainly on the rise.
I'm no expert on the subject, but I believe the deteriorating state of mental health in the world has a lot to do with hope. People who harbor hopeful states of mind tend to have expectations of positive outcomes because of or in spite of the circumstances in their lives. The opposite holds true from people in despair, and as far as I can tell, a great many people have already slipped or are on the verge of slipping into despair.
Spatio-temporal considerations appear to play a large role in hope and despair in the minds of modern people. I don't mean spatio-temporal in a Star Trek, physics class, space-time continuum kind of way, but rather in a simple world and time kind of way. When people perceive they have enough world and time to do the things they want to do and live the kinds of lives they want to live, they remain generally hopeful.
The same holds true in reverse. When people feel the world has closed in on them - that they have run out of room in which to maneuver - and also feel that they have essentially run out of time or, conversely, feel the time they do have has become burdensome because they lack the space in which to spend it, they tend to gravitate toward despair.
Hope and despair are ultimately spiritual matters, which helps explain why an ultra-wealthy, beautiful, famous, influential, and intelligent individual who has the whole world at his feet can be gripped by despair and why some poverty-stricken, plain, unknown, powerless, and dull individual who essentially has nothing to live for can radiate hope.
People who believe they are of the world and only the world and that their time in the world is not only finite, but the only time they have ever had or will ever have are going to find it increasingly difficult to remain hopeful as the world continues to draw in all around them.
On the other hand, people who believe they are not of the world but are in the world to experience and learn and that their time in the world, though finite, is not the only time they ever had or will ever have are going to remain hopeful as the world continues to draw in all around them.
People in the first category will feel they do not have enough world left to utilize the time they have at their disposal and may begin to experience time as a crushing burden. Some will ultimately look for ways to escape the burden.
People in the second category will know they have enough world and time to experience and learn the things they need to experience and learn. They will live time in the present that is eternal. They will know what it means to be truly free.