Mental health care of adolescents – A way to shape the future

Adolescence refers to the period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Young people with strong minds build productive bonds and connections in this time.

Unfortunately, due to many socioeconomic determinants, an estimated 10-20% of adolescents globally have mental health issues. Mental health conditions in youth often cause several conditions in the future, such as substance abuse, sexual behavioral problems, violence-causing behaviors, increased suicide tendencies, and many others. Similarly, they might also develop social exclusion, discrimination, stigma, educational difficulties, and physical manifestations.

Preserving and promoting mental well-being during adolescence can ensure strong minds during adulthood. Therefore, there’s a need to assess, diagnose and treat mental health issues in adolescents as early as possible.

How bad is the situation of adolescent’s mental health?

Poor mental health is a growing problem for adolescents. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, every fifth youth aged 9-17 has a diagnosable mental health problem, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 15-24 years.

In 2019, almost every sixth youth reported making a suicide plan in the past year– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Common mental issues faced by adolescents:

Mental health issues commonly faced by adolescents are:

  • Emotional disorders such as excessive anger, irritability, and frustration. These have an increased tendency to develop into anxiety, depression, and stress disorders.
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders. These usually co-exist with depression in adolescence.
  • Psychotic disorders with mild to severe symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations.
  • Behavioral disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD) and conduct disorders. These commonly occur in young adolescents aged 10-14 years.
  • Increased suicidal tendencies due to socio-cultural determinants such as poor economic background, substance abuse, sexual identity problems, and abuse in childhood.

What will happen if these mental problems are not addressed?

If not treated, these mental health issues can potentially harm the adulthood of the adolescents because of wide negative impacts such as:

  • Social exclusion and discrimination.
  • Social stigmatization.
  • Educational difficulties.
  • Increased aggressiveness and risk-taking behaviors.
  • Physical manifestations such as sexual disorders, galactorrhea, and anovulation.
  • Lack of confidence in adulthood.
  • Suicide and non-suicidal self-injuries.

How to preserve and promote adolescents’ mental health?

  1. First of all, it is necessary to educate people about the mental health problems commonly faced by adolescents.
  2. Encourage positive parenting, particularly during adolescence, because parents are the closest ones to an adolescent.
  3. Spend enough time with adolescents and share your experiences and thoughts.
  4. Closely observe and identify the behaviors of adolescents and seek expert counseling if needed.
  5. Integrate social-emotional learning through schools.
  6. Establish a link between students and mental health services.

Moreover, World Health Organization (WHO) has prioritized non-pharmacological treatments such as counseling, psychosocial and behavioral therapies for early detection and treatment of mental health issues in adolescents.

When to seek a mental health provider?

One should seek support from a mental health provider if an adolescent has a progressive change in behavior, difficulty in concentration, persistent change in eating habits, loss of sleep, severity in symptoms, or suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, parents should contact a mental health professional if an adolescent shows educational difficulties, excessive anger or aggressiveness, substance abuse issues, or increased violence tendencies.

Contact us:

Our mental health professionals are well-educated and trained to assess and treat adolescents’ mental health issues. We believe that adolescents are the future of a nation, and taking care of their mental health is not less than taking care of the nation.

Should you need any assistance, feel free to contact us or visit us.