Adolescent mental health: information that matters to you
Adolescence is an intense time. You are transitioning from being a child to being an adult, with the accompanying social and emotional challenges.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, but it can be difficult to know where to go for help. This blog post contains information about adolescent mental health that you might find helpful.
We cover topics like how puberty affects mental health, potential warning signs of depression or anxiety, and what to do if you’re struggling with mental illness yourself.
We also give information on how to find healthcare services in your area
Puberty and Mental Health
Puberty affects mood and behavior. On average, girls start their periods during their 10th or 11th year of age and have their first menstrual cycle during their 12th or 13th year.
The most common risk factor for experiencing depression is already having at least one mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder.
Other common risk factors include experiencing sexual trauma or sexual abuse, family history of depression or mood disorders, and genetic factors.
Thinking about the future also changes the way you think.
Instead of looking to the future, a person with depressive symptoms tends to look back at their past or experience negative, negative thoughts about their future.
Mental Illness and the Brain
It’s natural to wonder if your brain makes you depressed, anxious, or anxious about mental health.
In general, your brain’s physical makeup doesn’t have much to do with how you feel or behave, but certain types of depression can involve a poor diet, physical health issues, or illnesses in the family.
See what types of mental health issues are linked to diet and physical health. Understanding Mood and Depression Mood and emotion have long been identified as major areas of our mental health.
Mood disorders are mental illnesses that cause changes in your mood, usually through one or more specific triggers (such as stress, boredom, anger, sadness, or excitement).
Mood disorders can also cause extreme sadness or hopelessness, as well as loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
Warning Signs of Depression
Young people can struggle with depression without the necessary tools. Here are some of the common warning signs of depression.
Depression in people under the age of 25 Depression in young people can be especially tricky to spot.
It’s often subtle, and its signs are often different to those of other forms of depression. Signs of depression in young people can include:
Sleep problems Depression may make it difficult to get to sleep and wake up. You may also have difficulty concentrating.
Lack of enjoyment When you’re depressed, it can be difficult to enjoy anything. Feelings of worthlessness You may feel like your life has no meaning or purpose.
Low mood and fatigue Sleep problems and low energy may make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Warning Signs of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders affect approximately 22 million adults aged 18 and older each year in the United States.
For some people, anxiety is more of a mild problem that they can work through on their own. For others, anxiety can become a chronic condition requiring treatment.
Here are some warning signs of anxiety that you may notice in yourself or in someone you care about.
How to Find Help
First of all, you should contact your health care provider or contact your family doctor. Most children and teenagers with mental health issues can receive appropriate help from a medical professional.
If you’re struggling with a mental health issue or know someone who is, we encourage you to seek out a healthcare professional.
It might be difficult to find one in your community, so it’s always helpful to check in with your family doctor.
They can refer you to mental health professionals who can provide appropriate care.
In addition to your family doctor, they might include: Your school or workplace’s health services can also refer you to a mental health professional. Services like the Canadian Mental Health Association can provide counselling.
Finding help for mental illness with a general practitioner (GP)
Many GPs offer mental health first aid training which includes information on signs and symptoms of mental illness.
HealthyYou Mental Health First Aid Conversely, if you are struggling with a mental illness, it may be beneficial to speak to your GP or other mental health professional.
More information about the advice that your GP can give about your condition Adolescent mental health:
advice from experts Two expert organisations have produced guidance for teachers, parents, carers and others who work with teenagers.
These provide education and information about issues affecting young people’s mental health.
We cover topics like bullying and resilience in teens, and how to support a friend who is struggling with their mental health.
Finding help for mental illness with a psychiatrist
Find a psychiatrist in your area when you are aged 12 – 18 You may not see a child psychiatrist when you are aged 11 or 12, but we can give you some guidance on finding someone when you are aged 12 to 18.
You will need to contact the local secondary care centres to ask for a referral to see a psychiatrist and to arrange a follow-up appointment.
This will take time to do – usually about 6 weeks – so consider having the first appointment with a school counsellor or teacher who will be able to refer you to a school-based mental health practitioner.
There are specialist schools in the UK that offer mental health services to young people, which may be the best place for you to begin.
Or contact the Samaritans where you live, for support and to talk to someone.
Talking with your GP about mental health if you’re not sure who to talk to
Mental health doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it can be helpful to talk to your GP about any issues you’re having.
Confronting your inner demons with an adult Teens have a reputation for being moody and irritable, and this can be true of a small number of them.
For the rest of us, the way we feel about our feelings and how we deal with them are usually very different.
In addition to sorting out things that are upsetting to us, we have to be honest about how we feel.
This can be hard. What if we’re just ‘moody’? Talking to an adult can help if we’re not sure how to talk to others. Parents, grandparents, older siblings, or teachers can act as good role models for talking to people about our feelings.
Prevalence: Around 1 in 5 (21 per cent) U.S. adolescents (aged 13-18 years) have a diagnosable mental health problem (here is a list of all mental illnesses by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services).
15 per cent of adolescents (aged 12-17 years) have at least one diagnosable mental health problem.
Adolescents diagnosed with major depression are more likely to have thoughts about hurting themselves than other adolescents with depression.
40 per cent of teens with major depression are at a moderate to severe stage of their illness. Increased anxiety and loneliness are among the most prevalent symptoms of depression in adolescents (here is a list of symptoms to watch out for, that indicate a serious depression problem).
What is anxiety?
Anxiety can affect anyone, at any age. It can affect children at a time when their world is relatively stable.
Anxiety can last a matter of hours or weeks and may return repeatedly.
It can disrupt your daily life in many ways, from preventing you from sleeping or concentrating at school, to limiting your ability to socialise with friends and family.
Anxiety can have a negative impact on your physical health as well.