Adolescence is the age of change; changes within and around. The youngsters are faced with changing schools, leaving home, and starting at university, many a times faced with changing cities and relationships as well. For many, these are exciting times but these can also be times of stress and apprehension.
Most of the serious mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go unnoticed and untreated. Young adults are at the age when serious mental illnesses can occur and yet they are taught little to nothing about mental health care.
Imagine growing up in the world today. Imagine dealing with child abuse and violence in the home, schools and outside on a regular basis. Young people are spending most of their day on the internet – experiencing cyber-crimes, cyber bullying, and playing violent video games.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Harmful use of alcohol and dangerous drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries including ours. Along with risky behaviors, in which young girls and boys engage in, such as self harm and dangerous driving.
Many mental health problems are preventable, but for prevention to work for children, changes need to take place in our schools, from primary level upwards. We know there are many schools that are doing excellent things in this area, often in difficult circumstances, but this needs to keep improving and be consistent in all schools.
Let’s focus on the needs of our young people. Let's take a stand and demand more for the world’s young – our future depends on them!
This Mental Health day let’s bring the attention to the issues that our youth and young adults are facing and begin the conversation around what they need in order to grow up healthy, happy and resilient.
Prevention begins with awareness of, and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. Parents and teachers can help build life skills in children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school, with increased emphasis on psychosocial support that needs to be provided in schools and the community settings.