Youth mental health is a critical issue that affects all of us, not just our kids. It can be impacted by a variety of factors, including poverty, social stressors and structural inequities.
Regardless of the stressor, one of the most important things we can do to support youth mental health is to check in and listen. This can help young people feel safe and validate their feelings without judgment.
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders. It can affect people of all ages and genders, but it’s most common in young people. It’s caused by a combination of factors, such as life events, genetic dispositions and hormones.
Depression can be treated with medication, therapy or both. If you suspect your teen has depression, get them to talk about it with someone they trust — such as a parent, teacher or school counsellor.
If they’re reluctant to seek help, explain that depression is very common in young people and that doctors are there for them all the time. Encourage them to stay involved in treatment, and track changes in their condition.
Globally, one in seven 10-19 year olds experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease. Depression, anxiety and behavioural disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability in this age group.
Anxiety is a common mental health issue, and it can affect all age groups. Anxiety can lead to a range of symptoms, from withdrawal and avoidance to irritability and lashing out.
Kids are often anxious after experiencing a stressful event, such as a death in the family, a change in school or home environment, sickness, or bullying. They may also be anxious after experiencing trauma such as abuse or neglect.
During adolescence, anxiety can affect a teen’s relationships with others and their physical development. It may also interfere with their academic performance or ability to focus.
If your teenager is showing signs of anxiety, it’s a good idea to talk to their doctor or a psychiatric professional. They can diagnose the condition and create a treatment plan.
People who self-harm often do so to numb feelings of pain or discomfort. They may also do it to feel like they’re in control of their emotions.
They might also want to show other people that they are struggling and need help. It can be difficult to tell someone about your own self-harm, but it’s important.
Young people who self-harm need support to talk about their feelings and find ways to cope. They might need support from a doctor, psychologist, or a friend and family member.
You can be a good support for someone who self-harms by listening to them without judgement and communicating that you care about them. Be supportive, but avoid giving ultimatums such as ‘stop or else’ as these rarely work.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in children and youth. It is a complex problem that requires comprehensive, integrated and multisectoral prevention strategies.
Adolescents experience a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and behavioural disorders. These conditions can affect their physical and mental health, school performance and social interactions.
Many adolescents who have mental health disorders can successfully navigate these difficulties with treatment, peer and professional supports and services. Nonetheless, some adolescents may need more specialized support.
Teens who have a mental health disorder often have risk factors, such as a history of depression or other mental health conditions; alcohol and substance use problems; a history of trauma or abuse; family or relationship problems; and a sense of being unwanted, unloved or a burden to others. Getting the treatment they need can help them feel better and stay safe.