As per WHO, one in seven 10-19 years-olds suffer from a mental issue, with anxiety, depression, and other behavioral disorders being the leading disorders. The increasingly deteriorating mental health in adolescents is a matter of concern for not only parents but also health practitioners across the globe. There are various causes behind mental health issues in adolescents and several forms of a poor mental state. This article will help you understand mental health issues in adolescents by discussing some aspects of mental disorders common amongst the young generation.
Identifying Mental Health Issues in Adolescents
Home and school are the two places where children spend most of their time. Hence the identification of mental health issues starts from one of these places. Generally, parents notice changes in their child’s behavior before anyone else does.
At school, counselors work closely with children and are the first ones to identify issues faced by children. This is because they have professional knowledge regarding mental health issues, their causes, and solutions. So they can easily observe a child’s behavioral changes.
Many schools hire professional psychologists, while some take psychology students on board as internees. Anyone interested in working as a psychologist may get perplexed and stuck in the BS vs BA in psychology comparison as they fail at deciding the right degree for working with adolescents.
When deciding to work with adolescents, you should choose a BA in Psychology if you want to focus more on learning about social psychology, ethics, and behavioral psychology. But if you are more inclined toward quantitive research and acquiring more scientific knowledge, a BS in Psychology may be a better option. Regardless of which degree you choose, you will have expertise in dealing with mental health issues in adolescents.
Once you identify that an adolescent is facing a mental health issue, it becomes easier to solve it. This is because you can now find the root cause behind the issue.
Determinants Of Mental Health In Adolescents
WHO has listed three main determinants of poor mental health in adolescents. These include depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders.
One of the main determinants of mental health issues in adolescents is depression. Adolescents experiencing depression are less likely to function properly at school, at home, or in other social interactions. There can be several reasons behind depression in adolescents, including peer pressure, child abuse, family conflict, etc. Adolescents suffering from depression feel hopelessness, emotional distress, and suicidal thoughts.
This is another very common mental health issue that affects adolescents. They can experience anxiety in different ways, including generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. A child may not perform well in curricular and extracurricular activities at school. If your child is suffering from sleep difficulty, irritability, or concentration issues, watch out, as these are the symptoms of anxiety.
Another major issue in adolescents is behavioral disorders. Such disorders are more common in young adolescents compared to older ones. Some common disorders include Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), autism spectrum disorder, conduct disorder, eating disorders, etc. All these behavioral disorders affect an adolescent’s academic progress and social interactions. This may lead to them developing deviant or criminal behavior when they grow up.
Why Are Mental Health Issues Increasing In Adolescents?
There are various potential reasons behind the increasing mental health issues in adolescents. However, the most common reasons are briefly discussed below:
Excessive use of Social Media
With the advent of social media platforms, lifestyle trends have changed. People from all age groups, especially adolescents, use social media excessively. Various studies have supported that excessive use of social media is one of the major reasons behind mental disorders. One such study has established a link between the social media activity of adolescents and the increased risk of depression in them.
Changing societal expectations
Adolescents of today’s age experience different societal expectations compared to previous generations. They may feel pressure to meet the high standards of societal conformation regarding academics, extracurricular activities, and careers. This increased pressure contributes to stress and anxiety in adolescents, which negatively affects their mental health.
Growing access to information
Another cause of increasing mental health issues in adolescents is the growing access to information and resources. Several studies have noted that children who spend more time surfing the internet are more likely to suffer from mental health issues. This is particularly true for children who use the internet to escape their environment and compare their social status with their peers. Similarly, increased social media use also leads adolescents to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.
What Can Parents Do To Address These Issues?
Once you’ve pinpointed that your child is suffering from any of the mental health issues, it’s time to address them. Here are a few things you can do as parents to help your child deal with their problem.
1. Communicate openly
Communication is the first step toward fixing any issue. Because of communication gaps, children cannot share their feelings with their parents and end up messing up their lives. So, please speak to your children, spend time with them, and inquire about their opinions. Encourage your children to express their feelings and thoughts openly and make them understand that talking about mental health issues is okay.
2. Seek professional help
Now that you’ve started communicating with your child take some professionals on board to effectively address the issue. A mental health professional can work with you to address the specific mental health issue that your child might be dealing with. This can be a psychologist or counselor who is an expert at helping young people cope with their issues.
To sum it up, regardless of which age group a person belongs to, the significance of mental health cannot be undermined. However, the fact that adolescents also go through mental health issues is often ignored.
But there is no denying that adolescents suffer from mental health issues, which are increasing daily. The identification can be made either at home or at school. Parents are the closest to children; generally, they are the first ones to pinpoint changes. They can seek professional help from qualified counselors and psychologists to guide their children and improve their lives.