ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Mental health disorders in teens have soared in recent years – and the COVID pandemic has only made things worse.
One in seven 10 to 19 year olds will experience a mental disorder with suicide being the fourth leading cause of death between the ages of 15 and 19. In the fall of 20-21, the American Academy of Pediatrics along with the US Surgeon General declared a devastating national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. Ivanhoe reports on the state of mental health in teens – and why it could impact them down the road.
Teenagers in the US are struggling when it comes to mental health.
Today, one in five suffer from at least one mental health disorder. And studies show suicide rates have been increasing every year since 2007.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10 year olds to 34 year olds.” Explains Ian Adair, MS, Executive Director Gracepoint Foundation.
New research also suggests a teen’s mental health can affect their heart health later on. A study that looked at more than 20-thousand subjects found adults who were more optimistic as a teen were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. So how can you recognize the signs of trouble in your teen?
Adair says, “I think a couple of the biggest signs that we see are when anyone starts to become really withdrawn, and they don’t want to participate in things they normally are excited about.”
Other possible indicators include trouble sleeping, negative thoughts or actions, changes in appetite, anxiety, irritability, or personality changes. If you notice these issues – don’t try to immediately solve them!
“We go into parent mode, we go into fix it mode, we want to fix our kids no matter what’s wrong with them.”, explains Adair. Instead – listen to your child and encourage them to get professional help. It could spark a positive change that affects them for years to come.
Some of the most common mental health disorders in teens are depression, anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse disorders.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer
MENTAL HELATH CRISIS IN TEENS
BACKGROUND: Mental illness is a medical problem involving changes in behavior, emotion or thinking or a combination of all of these. It can be associated with distress and/or problems functioning in family or social activities. During any given year, mental illness affects nearly one in five adults in the United States with 4.1 percent experiencing serious mental illness and 8.5 percent having undiagnosed substance use disorders. Mental illness can affect anyone and everyone and at any age. However, seventy five percent of mental illness presents by age 24. Mental illness can affect your life in small ways, like phobias, or may require hospitalization and constant care.
THE STUDY: In a study, researchers tried to find a pattern of mental disorders of hospitalized patients. The study was conducted among patients admitted with a mental illness. Out of 7,908 cases reported, 70.36 percent were males and 29.64 percent were females. Most were between the ages of 30-44 and most of the cases reported were for mood disorders in males. The conclusion of this study is that mood disorder was the most common mental disorder and the next leading disorder was mental and behavioral disorders due to substance use. They say that counseling can be helpful to prevent most mental illnesses.
NEW TECHNIQUES: Some prevention strategies that promote mental health, like helping those feel connected to school/family, can help prevent negative experience like drug use and violence. Teens and youths need to feel like someone cares about them so connections can be virtual or in person. The CDC says that through the Covid-19 pandemic that school is not only a place for learning, but it is also a place where a student can go and be given the opportunity to engage in physical activity, academic, social, mental, and physical health services protecting the student from negative outcomes. School can link a student to mental health services and build safe environments for the student to feel supported. Parents can communicate openly and be honest about values. They can also spend time with their child doing shared activities. Healthcare providers ask youths about their relationship with their parent, friends, and school experience to get a better understanding of what that child or teen is going through. They can educate the parents on health risks their child may develop in time.
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