When a Youth is in Crisis, it Affects the Whole Family

When a youth is in crisis, it affects their entire family. Whether they are living with a caregiver who lost their job during the pandemic or experiencing strained communication within their household, the treatment team should engage both the youth and family members in the process.

Look for changes in their behavior, like drug use or sexual promiscuity. Seek help if they are showing signs of suicide.

Lack of Opportunities

Amid the heightened levels of crisis around the world, youth have a particularly hard time finding jobs and income. According to the International Labour Organisation, more than 100 million young people are unemployed globally.

When these opportunities are removed by war or poverty, youth turn to a host of negative and destructive pathways to self-fulfillment. They can become violent and engage in criminal activities, or they may simply be left without a stable place to live, resulting in slum formations that account for up to 72 percent of cities’ populations in some parts of the world (see Urban Youth feature).

It is important for youth-specific programming to address these issues proactively by providing vocational training and job-placement programmes. These should include components such as life skills, peace education and trauma therapy to increase confidence, social responsibility and dignity. This, in turn, is vital to their ability to provide for themselves and others. Youths also need access to safe shelter, water and food.


Many young people feel frustrated and disillusioned with the state of their world. They feel that the world is largely unjust and in need of radical change. They are not alone in their views. Many of them have poured their energies into activism. They have joined the Occupy Wall Street movement and have fought for human rights around the globe.

Many have also grown disillusioned with democracy as a form of government. A study by University of Cambridge found that Gen Z and millennials have less faith in democratic politics than any previous generation. This disillusionment contributes to their waning trust in institutions.

These feelings can lead to mental health crises such as suicidal ideation. This is why it is so important to teach your children about warning signs and to include the Crisis Text Line in their phone contacts. This free service is available 24/7 to provide call, text, and chat support to youth in crisis.

Mental Health Issues

Despite some small signs of improvement in 2021, kids and teens continue to struggle with mental health issues. Depression and other disorders remain common among youth, with a lack of access to treatment often contributing to worsening symptoms.

Therapists report that the pandemic exacerbated existing problems, including a feeling of persistent sadness and hopelessness, that can lead to self-harm and suicide. These issues can also cause or worsen outcomes like academic difficulties and substance abuse.

Psychologists are focusing on finding solutions at the local level to address mental health issues and other factors that contribute to youth crisis. They are supporting efforts to improve clinical training and capacity and working with schools and the community to advance best practices and change perceptions about mental illness. They are also addressing societal barriers to seeking help, including reducing negative stereotypes, bias and stigma, especially for populations that have outsized influence over youth, such as faith leaders, teachers, family and health care professionals and social media influencers.


Violence has a number of negative health consequences and it is one of the leading causes of suicide in youth. In addition to these direct effects, violence can lead to emotional difficulties, such as anxiety and depression and it may also cause children to develop poor self-esteem or develop antisocial behaviours such as pathological lying and impulsiveness.

Many youth experience violence at some point in their lives, either as victims or offenders. The problem of violence in youth is a global issue and requires a comprehensive approach. Various programs exist to reduce and prevent the incidence of violence, including prison-based programs that aim to reduce recidivism among violent offenders.

A public health approach to reducing violence is critical, which emphasizes primary prevention (i.e. preventing violent incidents from occurring in the first place). This is often referred to as “root cause analysis.” The approach must take into account the various risk and protective factors and must include interventions that are targeted at community-level factors.