Youth Health Mental Health

youth health mental

Adolescents’ mental health problems are exacerbated by structural factors such as poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness. They are also impacted by global events such as natural disasters, political conflict, and gun violence.

A better way to address these issues is by implementing youth mental health growth charts that detect anomalies from normative trajectories and offer options for closer tracking or assessment, and preventative or clinical intervention.

Social and Emotional Development

Adolescence is a time when people begin to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationships. They build the skills they need for a healthy, productive adult life. When youth have good mental health, they can form and maintain close relationships with their friends and family, have good academic achievements and find satisfying jobs.

Youth who have poor mental health, on the other hand, may be more likely to have difficulties in these areas and be at greater risk for a range of problems like drug use or a higher risk of sexual behavior that can lead to unintended pregnancy, HIV or STDs. They may also experience stressors, such as financial pressures from the 2008 economic crisis, natural disasters, racial injustice or gun violence.

Many of these risk factors can be prevented or minimized with support from caring adults, schools and community organizations. This requires a shift from an approach that is focused on only identifying and responding to problem behaviors to one that promotes positive youth development by promoting protective factors, such as having supportive relationships.


Adolescence is a time of great emotional, hormonal and social growth. Many teenagers face challenges during this time such as bullying, relationships with peers, and navigating sexual and gender identities.

Poor mental health in teens can have serious consequences. Adolescents with poor mental health may have difficulty with school and grades, decision making, and even their health. They might also act impulsively and dangerously towards themselves or others. This can include self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse, or destructive behaviors towards others, such as violence and gang activity.

Teens with poor mental health are more likely to experience feelings of hopelessness and helplessness than those who have good mental health. This can be due to a combination of factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, financial struggles, family loss, racial and identity-based discrimination, natural disasters, and gun violence. Our study participants reported that they expected mental health professionals to listen to them, take their problems and emotions seriously, and to accept them.

Adolescent Depression

Depression can affect the way teens think and feel, and may cause them to lose interest in things they used to enjoy. It can also make them irritable and easily upset, which can cause problems at home or in school. It can even lead to a change in eating habits and weight loss or gain. Depression can be treated with psychotherapy or medication.

Adolescent depression is often a marker for later problems, particularly anxiety disorders and substance abuse. Researchers have found that depression during adolescence is associated with a range of outcomes between ages 16 and 21, including later depressive symptoms, unemployment, smoking and being a parent.

Teens who are depressed may need more intensive treatment, such as in a psychiatric hospital or day program that provides counseling and other therapies. These include interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. These types of therapy can help people learn ways to cope with life stressors, change negative thinking patterns and develop healthy exercise and sleeping routines.

Adolescent Suicide

Most suicides occur among people with serious mental disorders, and adolescence is the peak age for developing such conditions. Suicide hotlines are available in most areas, and hospitals with emergency wards for mental health problems provide help during crisis situations. Treatment may include medications or talk therapy. Children and adolescents with major psychiatric disorders have increased risk for suicide, including schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa and severe depression. Family issues can also increase a child’s risk, such as one or more parents with alcohol or drug problems, divorce, separation and incarceration of a parent, parental abuse and neglect.

Adolescents experiencing a traumatic event may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, which can increase the risk for suicide. They may experience mood changes, long periods of re-experiencing traumatic symptoms (intrusive thoughts or nightmares) and emotional numbing. It is important that trauma patients be screened for depression and suicidal ideation, but less than 50% of suicide-risk patients are screened at level I and II trauma centers.