Teen mental health is a topic that needs increased focus. Teen and adolescent years are a period of brain and body development. Coupled with increased pressure and expectations from family, friends, and school, teens have a proverbial full plate. With the stresses and pressure that come with navigating the teen years, some may develop mental health issues as a result of an inability to cope. It is vital to understand the importance of mental health for teens and adolescents and to find appropriate and specialized help for young people if they are struggling with their mental health.
Teen Mental Health
As stated, the adolescent years are a crucial developmental period. During adolescence, teens learn critical life skills, including communicating with others, developing coping and problem-solving skills, and learning to manage emotions. For some, this is a process that may come naturally and smoothly.
However, there are several risk factors that can lead teens to develop some form of mental health condition during adolescence. These can include a family history of mental illness, dysfunction in the home, involvement with drugs and alcohol, bullying, or abuse. Because the teen brain is still growing and developing, risk factors can compound, and teens can develop a mental health condition that can affect their lives well into adulthood.
Mental Health Facts for Teens
It is no surprise there are surprising teen mental health statistics given the vulnerability of adolescents during this critical period of growth. Data from the National Center for Children in Poverty show that 20% of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health issue. Another surprising teen mental health statistic is that 20 to 30% of teenagers will experience one major depressive struggle before they enter adulthood. Also, up to 75% of people with anxiety struggles developed these illnesses during their teen years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also notes the following statistics on teenage mental health:
- 1 in 7 children between 10 and 18 experience symptoms related to a mental health challenge
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents
- Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among those between the ages of 15 and 29
These statistics on teen mental health bring into focus the importance of detecting teen mental illness as early as possible and finding specialized treatment geared for adolescents. The consequences of failing to address adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults
Common Teen Mental Health Struggles
Teens and adolescents can experience a variety of mental health conditions and symptoms. One of the most common mental illnesses found in adolescents are anxiety issues. Teen mental health statistics provided by WHO show that 4% of 10–14-year-olds and 5% of 15-19 year-olds experienced symptoms related to anxiety. These challenges include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias. Another common teen mental health issue is depression. Depression is the second most common teen mental health disorder with an estimated 13% affected by this issue.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is another mental issue affecting teens. The CDC estimates nearly 7 million children aged 3-18 are diagnosed with the disorder. ADHD can often lead to the development of other conditions, such as depression or anxiety, in which case treatment can help.
How To Help Your Teen Overcome Mental Health Issues
If your child is struggling with a mental health condition, there are many ways that you can help your teen. One way is to educate yourself on your adolescent’s mental health. Talk to your local mental health specialist and do research online. Arm yourself with knowledge so you can better help your teen. It is also essential to be supportive. Take time to listen to your teen and be patient. Your support could really make a difference.
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