Mental Health Symptoms and Teenage Development

Recent studies have shown that symptoms of a diagnosed mental illness in adults are more likely to develop in their teenage years. In fact, Joinson (2017) found that 75% of adults with depression reported their mental health problems had started in adolescence. This is obviously a cause for concern, it means we are not doing a good enough job identifying early signs of mental health problems in teenagers. If it is not properly addressed, it could lead to more teenagers going without help or diagnosis and struggling later in life as a result.

More teenagers than ever are reporting mental health problems. According to Polaris Teen Approximately one in five teenagers suffer from at least one mental health disorder. The Foundation of Mental Health in the UK state “50% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age”.

The cause of mental illness in teenagers is widely discussed and documented. Some people are predisposed to mental illness if other family members also suffer similar problems and is in their genetic make-up however many external factors also play a role in the mental development during teenage years. Trauma, stress, family dysfunction, health problems and feelings of loneliness and isolation are among the many potential causes of mental health problems in teenagers.

It’s become increasingly important that we need to provide more accessible help such as counselling, therapy, and education. We also need to learn how to better identify the problem and its source earlier, which could potentially reduce the effect that symptoms of mental illness have on teenagers. Depression and anxiety are the leading mental illnesses found in young adults and teenagers but it is believed that if the symptoms are identified and treated early then they are less likely to suffer from the illness in later life.

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