Mental Health in Adolescence

youth health mental

Adolescence is a time when mental health challenges — including anxiety, depression and behavioural disorders — become more common. These issues can have lasting consequences and impact a person’s overall well-being.

Most youth experience mental health distress only temporarily and can recover with treatment, peer and professional support services, and a strong family and social network. However, certain groups are at greater risk for developing mental health problems.


Adolescence is the period of life between childhood and adulthood. During this time, the brain continues to develop and the body undergoes physical changes including growth, puberty, and sexual maturation. Adolescence can also be a stressful time for many adolescents.

Symptoms of depression and anxiety tend to peak during adolescence. Many of these symptoms can be caused by stressors such as school grades, social difficulties, family dysfunction, problems with their sexual orientation or gender identity, substance abuse, and/or bullying.

Teens are often more exposed to risk behaviors due to the fact that they have fewer coping skills and are less likely to receive help for their mental health issues from family, friends, and other professionals. Some teens may even feel they can’t ask for help because they don’t want to be seen as weak or a failure. In addition, the prefrontal cortex of the brain that controls self-regulation is not fully developed, and this can lead to the use of substances as a way to cope with these emotions.


Depression is a common mental health condition that can affect teens. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including sadness, low energy, and hopelessness. It can also cause trouble sleeping and eating. Some people may also feel suicidal. It is important to seek treatment for depression. Treatment options can include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Depression can have a significant impact on youth, including their family and school life. It can also lead to other problems, such as drug use and violence. Prevention strategies that help youth feel connected to their schools and families can reduce these risks.

Teens who are depressed may need more intensive treatment. They may go into a psychiatric hospital or day program, which can offer counseling and other services. During this time, they can develop long-term relationships with service providers and learn coping skills. They can also explore major issues that may contribute to their depression, such as grief or life changes.


Anxiety is a normal part of life, but constant anxiety can interfere with people’s quality of life. It can cause problems at home, school and work, including a lack of energy, self-esteem issues and difficulty concentrating.

Teens with severe anxiety disorders are more likely to have trouble in school, be at risk of substance abuse and may struggle with relationships and social skills. They also have a higher risk of depression, behaviour problems and suicide.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems among children and adolescents. However, there are a number of factors that can influence community prevalence estimates, including the type of symptom or syndrome evaluated, the method of data collection (eg, self-report or parent/teacher report), information source and the method of data aggregation in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Moreover, the exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown, although they may be linked to changes in brain chemistry. However, research shows that treating anxiety can help.


Suicide is a significant public mental health problem, especially for adolescents. It can cause immense pain, suffering and societal loss. It often stems from a complex interplay of factors. However, suicide prevention programs that focus on the whole person can help lower risk and offer a better outlook.

The onset of mental disorders like mood and eating disorders (particularly anorexia nervosa) and schizophrenia can increase a youth’s chance of taking their own life. A history of abuse is also a significant factor, especially domestic violence and mental/physical/sexual abuse.

A teen’s attitude towards treatment is important. They should be willing to go to a mental health professional, but if they don’t want to, you can try to convince them in other ways. It’s also helpful to make sure that a mental health professional is aware of any family problems that may be causing conflict with the teen, because these can contribute to suicide risks. This includes poor communication and even direct conflicts.