The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that one in five teenagers has a mental health condition, creating a challenge for teens to deal with mental health issues. March 2 is World Teen Mental Wellness Day, putting the spotlight on the problems affecting teenagers and their families struggling to offer help and understand their loved ones’ challenges.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that half of all mental health issues start by the time a child reaches the age of 14. Sadly most cases are neither diagnosed nor treated by that time.
Depression is prevalent among the younger population. According to the WHO, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability. Adolescence makes for trying times even under the best circumstances and home environments. People at a young age do not have much life experience or understanding of their problems. This often makes it difficult for a young person to find the words, or the bravery, to tell a parent something is wrong.
Ignoring Mental Health Concerns Only Compounds the Problem
When a person is concerned about their mental health, seeing a licensed counselor or physician is essential for obtaining a correct diagnosis. Self-diagnosing is not an effective way to treat potential problems. Ignoring a problem in hopes that it will “go away” on its own is tempting to many young people and worried parents. However, ignoring a mental health concern only exacerbates the situation. While facing the unknown can be frightening, seeing a helpful professional will put a person on the path to managing their condition and regaining a feeling of control over their lives.
Types of Mental Health Conditions
A wide variety of mental health conditions can arise in a person’s life, some more well known than others. Researching mental health conditions can be a great way to reduce stigma and notice potential signs of emerging issues. Common mental health disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Attacks
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Specific Phobias (like agoraphobia and claustrophobia)
- Eating disorders (like bulimia and anorexia nervosa)
- Bipolar disorder
- Self-harm (like cutting or suicide attempts)
Each issue proves unique in treatment needs, as well as “presentation” (i.e., how the diagnosis “looks”) within each individual. Which therapeutic approach or prescription medication works for one person might not work for another. It is vital to seek individualized treatment and follow the plan created specifically for that person.
Looking for Help for Your Teenager
Many sources are available to treat an adolescent or young adult with mental health issues. Make an appointment with their primary care physician or ask them to recommend a licensed mental health counselor. Although the pandemic has altered things in society, it opened up the door for many medical and psychiatric appointments to occur via telehealth (i.e., over the phone, on a computer program, or an app). Fear of going out in public or distance from a provider does not mean help is not available.
Group therapy, either in-person or online, gives a young person a place to feel comfortable discussing what is happening in their lives. Peer support can be quite powerful, allowing for self-expression while giving and receiving support from like-minded individuals. High schools and colleges have counselors armed with information about dealing with mental health diagnoses and can be valuable sources of information. If the patient has several sources of help, such as a physician, a talk-therapist, and a psychiatrist prescribing medication, communication among each source to form a “treatment team” can help tremendously. This way, everyone knows what is happening, and they can communicate to coordinate plans that complement one another.
Living a Full Life With a Mental Illness
With the advancements in treatment for various mental health conditions, living with one or more mental health concerns does not mean a young person will be doomed to a less than meaningful life. When they follow treatment plans, assess their feelings and actions, and adjust plans as needed, a life full of rich relationships, family, college, and a career do not have to be pipe dreams available only to those without mental health issues.
A licensed counselor can help an adolescent understand how to navigate the world leading to adulthood and a bright future. Even if some plans are streamlined to incorporate any limitations brought on by mental health symptoms, they can still be excited about their lives and their direction.
World Teen Mental Wellness Day is March 2, shining a spotlight on mental health issues that affect millions of young people. Finding out a young person you love has a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, OCD, and others, can be frightening. However, it does not mean there is no hope for a happy life while managing their conditions. Sustain Recovery provides several program options to diagnose and treat mental illnesses in adolescents and young adults. Our experienced clinicians guide young people through sorting out what works best for them, arming them with the ability to return home equipped to deal with their mental health diagnoses. We help families understand how to assist them, providing a bridge for reuniting loved ones in a healthier family unit. Call our beautiful Southern California facilities to find out how we can help treat your loved one and give them a game plan for a happier, healthier life! (949) 407-9052