Youth Health Mental

Youth health mental is about helping young people find the right services when they need them. This includes finding help for problems like anxiety or depression.

It also means changing the way we talk about mental illness, like when one student said they preferred to use the phrase “living with” a mental illness instead of “suffering from.” This simple change is an important step.


Adolescence is a unique period of life that encompasses both internal and external challenges. It is a time when young people try out different options for their lives, such as careers or lifestyles, and can be influenced by the media. They are often socially isolated and may be exposed to a range of risky behaviors, such as drug abuse or unhealthy eating habits.

Rates of depression tend to increase during puberty, largely due to hormonal changes and new relationships with peers. It is also when many young people become aware of their sexual orientation or gender identity, which can lead to stigma and bullying.

This can be exacerbated for some youths who are at higher risk of mental health problems, such as those who have a family history of the condition or live in a rural area. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 be screened for depression and anxiety.


Whether starting or ending a relationship, managing a change in personal health and well-being, or adapting to a shift in family dynamics or financial stability, youth face numerous transitions that can have lasting effects on their mental health. These changes can also be exacerbated by events such as terrorism, violence, or hate crimes.

Psychologists are working to develop and disseminate solutions to these challenges. For example, they helped to revamp national guidelines on preventive services, adding regular anxiety and depression screenings for young people ages 8 to 18. They are also working to expand the use of teleconsultation to enable pediatricians to consult with specialists about youth mental health care.

New York City is committed to ensuring that all young people have access to mental health care. The city has a range of free and low-cost mental health services available to help all residents cope with life’s stresses, stay healthy, and thrive. Learn more about these services here.


Youth are often challenged by mental health issues that are exacerbated by life stressors. These stressors can include romantic breakups, family disruption, and difficulties with friendships and relationships. They can also include daily demands such as school work, money worries and responsibilities, and personal health concerns (i.e., eating well and getting enough sleep).

Individuals interpret situations differently as being stressful, and the body’s response to these situations varies. Some stressors are objective, such as a natural disaster or the death of a loved one. Other stressors are more subjective, such as a busy schedule or relationship problems.

For many youth with mental health challenges, their problems are difficult to manage at home and at school. They may have a hard time succeeding in school because of poor concentration, distractibility and difficulty learning. They may also engage in high-risk behaviors and struggle to develop good peer relationships. This can lead to disciplinary action at school and isolation from family and friends.


Stigma is a persistently high barrier to help-seeking and treatment for many youth. It has psychological, physical and social consequences including shame, blame and humiliation (mental health), exclusion, discrimination, and disease aggravation (physical health).

Research has found that adolescents in stigmatized contexts, such as those living in humanitarian or fragile settings; young people with chronic illness; adolescent mothers; or adolescent gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students are less likely to access mental healthcare. They also have poorer outcomes in terms of their quality of life, functioning and life satisfaction, and are more at risk for developing a mental health condition.

Parents are often the gatekeepers of their child’s access to treatment. However, parents have reported that their own feelings of stigma and disbelief can discourage them from seeking mental health support on their child’s behalf. Further, they have expressed a concern that their child’s treatment will be negatively impacted by the stigmatizing attitudes of the professionals with whom they interact.