Youth in Crisis

Youth are at an especially vulnerable stage in life. Many struggle with mental and emotional problems, including addictions. Violence and armed conflict continue unabated around the world, affecting young people in particular (see Youth and War feature).

To address these needs, states are increasing access to youth crisis stabilization programs, often using Medicaid funding. These are located outside of emergency rooms and offer two-person teams and telehealth consultations.


Many young people who participated in the 2011 Egyptian revolution now find themselves disengaged and disenchanted. But rather than retreating into old-style religion, they are creatively confronting state propaganda with digital artistic productions such as suggestive caricatures and sarcastic memes.

Weber’s concept of disenchantment refers to the demystification of the world with enlightened reason. With this process, the supernatural and mystical accounts of the cosmos that included gods and spirits were replaced with scientific explanations.

Unlike traditional religion, which is not open to any form of meaning-making, science allows for the existence of a “transparent” cosmos that does not require culturally endowed meaning. This notion of transparent knowledge is the dominant form of disenchantment in modernity. This is what is called scientific-epistemic transparency. The result is a world without transcendent values and the enigmatic quality that gave religious meaning to the past.


When young people are poor, they can’t afford to spend time with their friends and are unable to participate in recreational activities. They also have to worry about things like paying for a doctor’s visit or buying medication.

Poverty can be a cycle that traps people in it for life. It can be caused by a number of factors, including natural disasters and rising living costs. It can also be the result of lack of employment and health problems.

Many young people in poor countries are born into poverty. They can’t break the cycle of poverty unless they are given a chance to find work. Poverty can be exacerbated by neglect or abuse, mental illness and a chaotic lifestyle. This can make them vulnerable to crime and other risky behaviours.

War and Conflict

One in four children live in a country affected by an ongoing armed conflict, which is accompanied by severe levels of violence and loss. This impacts education and health access, food availability and shelter. Children who become involved with armed groups face exploitation and have high mental health needs. [1]

Anxiety about future safety and the loss of stability resulting from war and displacement are common among youth. It is important to support them by talking about current events factually, providing reassurance and helping them find healthy ways to manage their emotions.

They may feel isolated, and the lack of community support can lead to feelings of shame, stigma, high risk behaviors and a sense of disconnection from their families and communities. Interventions that promote social capital can reduce this effect and improve resilience in children living in conflict zones.

Sexual Abuse

Moodiness, withdrawal and sudden outbursts are normal for teenagers, but they may also be indicators of sexual abuse. The abuse can range from exposing them to pornography or taking pictures of them without their knowledge to French kissing, touching or oral and anal penetration.

Those who have been sexually assaulted perform worse at school and often have mental health problems. Many of them had been involved with social services before the assault or experienced previous traumas such as childhood abuse, neglect, domestic violence or substance abuse.

Counselling can help them and their family work through the trauma. It is also important for them to maintain their usual daily routine and participate in extracurricular activities. This will help them stay positive and give hope for the future.


The risk for suicide is particularly high for children and adolescents. They are by nature a vulnerable group for mental health problems and, during adolescence, are confronted with major concrete life changes, new challenges and a wide variety of mood fluctuations. A traumatic life event, such as relationship break-ups, the death of friends or family members and a strained relation with parents may trigger a mental health crisis in youth.

They often lack the ability to cope and are not able to solve their problems on their own. They also tend to be more impulsive, because the prefrontal cortex of their brain is not fully developed. This makes them less capable of using logical reasoning, and more prone to jump to conclusions. They often do not want to talk about their feelings and problems, fearing that others will make fun of them or judge them.