Mental Health: Raising Concerns among Young Population

Mental Health: Raising Concerns among Young Population

One in seven 10-19-year-olds experience a mental disorder, with depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders among the leading causes of illness and disability in adolescents, and suicide as the fourth contributor to death among 15-29-year-olds.

In recent years, mental health has emerged as a critical issue, especially among young people. The increasing prevalence of mental health problems among the youth has sparked discussions worldwide. It's essential to understand the significance of mental health awareness, its causes, prevention strategies, treatment options, and the overall concept to address these concerns effectively.

What is Mental Health? 

Mental health refers to a state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being in which individuals can cope with the everyday stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities. It encompasses the ability to navigate challenges, build and maintain positive relationships, and adapt to change effectively. Mental health is not merely the absence of mental illness but rather a holistic state of thriving and resilience.

What Causes Mental Health Problems? 

The causes of mental illness are diverse and intricate, stemming from a blend of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.

  • Genetic predispositions can play a role, but early-life experiences, trauma, abuse, neglect, and socio-economic circumstances may also induce mental distress.
  • Other factors, such as lifestyle choices, like substance abuse and poor nutrition, lack of social support, and chronic stress, can also contribute to mental health issues.
  • Moreover, societal pressures, including unrealistic beauty standards and the impact of social media, further exacerbate mental health problems, particularly among young individuals.

Mental Health in Adolescents and Young Adults:

The adolescent phase is a crucial period marked by significant physical, emotional, and social changes, with exposure to adverse circumstances like poverty, abuse, or violence heightening susceptibility to mental health challenges. In addition, academic stress, social expectations, technological advancements, and economic uncertainties contribute to heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

The common mental conditions prevalent among adolescents include:

  • Emotional Disorders: Anxiety and depression are the most prevalent mental disorders among older adolescents, contributing to rapid mood changes and social withdrawal. These disorders can lead to school-related challenges and increase the risk of suicide. 
  • Behavioral Disorders: More common in younger adolescents, behavioral disorders like ADHD and conduct disorder can disrupt education and may lead to criminal behavior, impacting adolescents' prospects. 
  • Eating Disorders: Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa often emerge during adolescence, characterized by abnormal eating behaviors and obsession with body weight. Anorexia nervosa, with its high mortality rate, poses significant health risks, including premature death. 
  • Psychosis: Symptoms of psychosis, like hallucinations or delusions, typically surface in late adolescence or early adulthood, impairing daily functioning and often resulting in stigma and human rights violations. 
  • Risk-Taking Behaviors: Adolescents often engage in risk-taking behaviors like substance use or sexual risk-taking, which can stem from emotional difficulties and significantly impact mental and physical well-being. Heavy episodic drinking, tobacco use, cannabis consumption, and violence perpetration are common concerns among adolescents, posing severe health risks and social consequences.

Adolescents grappling with mental health issues often feel isolated and hesitant to seek support, exacerbating academic difficulties, risky behavior, health concerns, and potential violations of their rights.

How is Poor Mental Health Treated? 

Treating poor mental health involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications tailored to individual needs. Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and mindfulness-based interventions, helps individuals understand and manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and mood stabilizers may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms of mental illness. Additionally, lifestyle modifications, including regular exercise, healthy eating habits, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques, are crucial in managing and improving mental health.

Mental Health Awareness: Significance and Relevance

Mental health awareness refers to understanding, recognizing, and acknowledging mental health conditions prevalent in society. Young people reported a lack of knowledge of mental health and the support system, leading to a sense of insecurity and possibly a delay in seeking help. Improved health literacy among young people may facilitate help-seeking through mechanisms of awareness of service availability and symptom recognition.

Mental health awareness programs involve educating individuals about various mental health disorders, their symptoms, and available resources for support and treatment, aiming to promote understanding and encourage early intervention. By addressing these challenges, mental health awareness campaigns foster a supportive environment, encourage resilience, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help.

Tips for Preventing and Promoting Mental Health in adolescents and young adults

1.    Foster Open Communication: Encourage adolescents and young adults to express their thoughts and feelings openly and without judgment. Create a supportive environment where they feel comfortable discussing their concerns. 

2.     Encourage Healthy Coping Strategies: Teach adolescents and young adults healthy ways to cope with stress, such as engaging in physical activity, practicing mindfulness, journaling, or seeking support from trusted individuals. 

3.     Promote Self-Care: Emphasize the importance of self-care practices, including getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and taking breaks to relax and recharge. 

4.    Build Resilience: Help adolescents and young adults develop resilience by encouraging them to learn from challenges, develop problem-solving skills, and maintain a positive outlook even in difficult situations. 

5. Foster Social Connections: Encourage adolescents and young adults to build and maintain supportive relationships with friends, family members, and peers. Social connections can provide emotional support and a buffer against stress. 

6.  Address Bullying and Peer Pressure: Teach adolescents and young adults strategies for dealing with bullying, peer pressure, and social conflict. Encourage assertiveness, empathy, and seeking help from trusted adults when needed. 

7.  Monitor Screen Time: Encourage adolescents and young adults to balance their screen time with offline activities. Excessive screen time, especially on social media, can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and negatively impact mental health. 

    8.   Establish a Positive Role Model: Model healthy behaviors and coping strategies for adolescents and young adults to emulate. Show them that it's okay to prioritize their mental health and seek help when needed.

Prompt addressal of mental health concerns among adolescents is essential. Protecting them from adversity, promoting socio-emotional learning, fostering psychological resilience, and ensuring access to mental health services are vital steps to safeguard their well-being throughout adolescence and adulthood.

Mrs. Mayuri Mathur

Mrs. Mayuri Mathur is a Senior Medical Writer (Patient education and digital) and seasoned content creator with a rich tapestry of expertise spanning over ten years. With a diverse background in content creation, she brings a wealth of experience to the table, from crafting insightful medical articles to developing comprehensive patient education materials, dynamic press releases, and captivating brochures and website content. Throughout her illustrious career, she has demonstrated an exceptional knack for distilling complex medical concepts into easily understandable content, making her a trusted resource for both professionals and lay audiences alike. Her meticulous attention to detail and innate creativity have enabled her to deliver content that not only informs but also engages and inspires. Whether elucidating intricate medical procedures or crafting compelling marketing materials, her versatility and dedication shine through in every project she undertakes. Her passion for writing, coupled with her profound understanding, makes her an invaluable asset to any team or project. In a constantly evolving digital landscape, where effective communication is paramount, Mrs. Mayuri Mathur stands out as a beacon of excellence, consistently delivering top-notch content that resonates with audiences across diverse platforms.

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