Adolescence is a formative period in life that has a determining effect on the social and emotional well-being of teenagers and beyond. From developing habits and coping skills to fostering healthy interpersonal relationships – adolescents are growing and learning how to deal with life’s most critical challenges.
According to statistics, 50% of all mental health issues are developed by the age of 14 and 75% of them by the age of 24. What’s more alarming, 70% of adolescents and children with mental health issues don’t have the appropriate help and support at a sufficiently early age.
An unhealthy and unsupportive environment can contribute to mental health problems or accelerate and intensify the occurrence of genetically predisposed symptoms. Therefore, creating a supportive and protective environment within the family, community, and school is extremely important.
For instance, ExpressVPN’s study showed that 83% of adolescents list social media as a contributing factor to their anxiety, while 79% think social media affects their depression.
A first step in developing an effective coping strategy is determining the symptoms and situations that may have a triggering effect. Therefore, we have listed the most common mental health issues teenagers face and how to detect them.
The most common mental health issues among teenagers:
While anxiety in children most commonly includes external factors like darkness, monsters in their closets, or scary animals, teenagers are anxious about their school performance, looks, and how others perceive them. If it’s not addressed and treated correctly, anxiety can lead to more severe and long-lasting problems with mental health. Therefore, it’s crucial to recognize the symptoms early and help to create a more understanding environment that will foster healthy habits and encourage teenagers to talk about issues and fears they may face. High pressure to achieve academic success, the pandemic sweeping the world, and social media pressure to look like an Instagram model can be some of the root causes of your teen’s heightened anxiety.
Make sure to set reasonable expectations – teenagers need time to relax and socialize. Unrealistic expectations can lead them to over-exertion and low self-esteem. Also, social media can lead to developing a distorted image of their own bodies and intensify the fear and concern about the current global situation. Encourage them to take breaks from social media platforms and take everything they find there with a grain of salt.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is most commonly diagnosed at an early age but persists into teenage years and beyond. Hormonal changes teens experience during puberty and higher social pressure can significantly worsen ADHD symptoms. For most teens, poor concentration contributes to problems in school and low grades. Alongside their academic achievements, it can have a detrimental effect on developing athletic and social skills, and it prevents them from engaging in many everyday activities like driving.
Studies have shown that teens with ADHD have a 62% higher crash risk one month after getting their license than their peers without ADHD. If your teenager is struggling with ADHD, make sure to be supportive and encourage them to engage in social activities. Don’t have unrealistic expectations and help with developing healthy habits. Also, consult with a physician and develop an ADHD treatment plan that will help keep the symptoms at bay.
Recent studies showed that one in five adolescents is battling clinical depression. With these figures growing each year, it’s crucial to spot symptoms on time and provide adequate treatment and teach them how to cope with the condition. Depression most commonly includes symptoms like withdrawal from social situations, low energy and motivation, changes in sleep patterns, poor school performance, low self-esteem, and lack of concentration.
The condition can vary in severity, and while some teens may experience only mild symptoms, others may need prolonged therapy to help them cope with the signs of depression. Moreover, the support of family and friends can have a significant role in the recovery process. If someone in your life is showing signs of depression, urge them to seek professional help and encourage them to develop a healthy daily routine.
Teens are at a higher risk of developing mental health issues, and they’re most commonly unwilling to talk about their problems and feelings openly. Therefore, it’s essential to recognize the issues in a timely way and direct them to seek adequate help.