You’ve probably heard the term “mind-body connection” and that’s because physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand. While we take care of our bodies with exercise and good nutrition, we need to take care of our mental health, too.
Teen mental health is especially important. The teenage years can be a vulnerable time with tremendous physical changes and emotional development and growth. Nearly one in five people live with a mental health condition, and half of all mental disorders diagnosed in adulthood actually begin as early as age 14. It is important to understand the prevalence of mental health conditions but also that they do not need to be debilitating. Awareness and acknowledgement is important, as is de-stigmatizing mental health and its treatment. Seeking help early on – before there is a crisis – is essential.
Below are some tips and resources to help raise awareness about mental health:
- Mental Health Event/Promotional Toolkit
Download the Teen Health Week event/promotional toolkit for mental health.
Your organization can help shed light on mental health and start the conversation among your teenage population and the adults in their lives. The day’s aim is to bring statistics to the forefront, raise awareness that mental health is as important as physical health, and open the door to resources that can help teens with mental health issues.
This toolkit has been created to make it easy for a variety of organizations (Medical Offices, Schools, etc.) interested in adolescent health to participate in Global Teen Health Week. You are free to use and adapt any of the materials herein for your Teen Health Week activities; however, use of these materials is not required in order to promote adolescent health during Teen Health Week. Participating organizations are at liberty to celebrate Teen Health Week in any manner they wish, and are encouraged to be creative in adapting these ideas to meet the needs of the adolescents you wish to reach. Approval for activities or educational materials is not required.
- Mental Health Facts
The statistics are sobering:
- Worldwide, depression is the third leading cause of illness and disability among adolescents, and suicide is the third leading cause of death in older adolescents, ages 15-19 years.
- Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults. 1 in 5 live with a mental health condition—half develop the condition by age 14 and three quarters by age 24.
- Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
- 70% of youth in U.S. juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.
- Teenagers with mental disorders are more likely to experience homelessness, be arrested, drop out of school, and be underemployed. Compared to all other chronic health conditions, mental disorders produce the greatest disability impact within this age group.
- LGBT people, especially youth, experience high levels of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. LGBT youth are at high risk for suicide attempts and completions. Suicide is a particular concern for transgender people. In the largest US survey of transgender adults to date, 41% of respondents reported having attempted suicide.
- Mental disorders frequently lead individuals and families into poverty and homelessness. Mental health disorders marginalize youth and make them more vulnerable to exploitation and ignoring of their basic human rights.
- Mental healthcare is insufficient world-wide, with almost 50% of patients in high income countries, and up to 85% of patients in low and mid-income countries receiving no treatment at all for mental health disorders. For young people, the situation is equally dire.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29 globally.
- Rates of self-harm behavior, including cutting, are rising amongst both male and female adolescents. In one study, rates increased almost 70% in teen girls ages 13 – 16 from 2011 to 2014 to 77/10,000. In another, from Australia, nearly 1 in 10 adolescents aged less than 20 years reported harming themselves at some time.
Mental health does not need to be a debilitating condition. Many people live with mental health issues, which are successfully treated and are able to live full, successful, healthy, and satisfying lives. Teens often go to teachers, school nurses, clergy, youth workers, physicians, therapists, coaches and others with their concerns, and it is important to talk with such trusted adults or health professionals about mental health concerns. But even more important, is approaching on mental health and well-being as a significant part of overall health.
- Other Resources
- How teens can manage academic stress
- What causes depression and who is at risk?
- Warning signs of suicide and how to help others
- Ten things to do for your mental health
- Stepping up efforts to home in on teen depression
- Spotting the symptoms of an eating disorder
- When dinner table defiance could lead to health problems