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October 15, 2018

What you must know about mental health of adolescents - 7 key facts

World Mental Health Day 2018: 
What you must know about mental health of adolescents - 7 key facts

New Delhi: Every year, October 10 is celebrated as World Mental Health Day (WMHD). The main objective of observing WMHD is to raise awareness about mental health issues across the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Young people and mental health in a changing world.” This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is focusing on adolescents and the mental health problems that they deal with.

“Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension, however,” said WHO. The feelings, if not recognised and managed, can lead to mental illness. WHO also stated that many young people living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters, and epidemics are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness. Take a look at some important facts about young and adolescent mental health, as revealed by the WHO. Read - Prince William talks about his mental health struggles: 5 warning signs you’re stressed at work

Adolescent mental health

  • According to the WHO, half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated.
  • Worldwide, it is estimated that 10-20% of adolescents experience mental health conditions.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.
  • Globally, depression is the ninth leading cause of illness and disability among all adolescents, whereas anxiety is the eighth leading cause. Read - Back pain and mental health problems: What's the connection?
  • Adolescents with emotional disorders may also experience excessive irritability, frustration, or anger, apart from depression or anxiety.
  • Harmful use of substances (such as alcohol or drugs) is a major concern in several countries. This can lead to risky behaviours, including unsafe sex or dangerous driving.
  • Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience, beginning from the earliest ages. This helps adolescents cope with the challenges of today’s world in a better way.
  • Building mental resilience from an early age can help prevent or manage and recover from mental problems amongst adolescents and young adults. Yet, prevention begins with a better understanding of early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness.
  • First observed in 1992, World Mental Health Day began as an event of the World Federation for Mental Health by the then Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter, as per the official website.



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