Adolescence is usually classified as between 10–19 years, and is a unique and formative time. While most adolescents have good mental health, multiple physical, emotional and social changes, including exposure to poverty, abuse, or violence, can make them more vulnerable to mental health problems. Promoting psychological well-being and protecting adolescents from adverse experiences and risk factors are critical for their well-being. This time period can also have a big impact on their adulthood and personality as well.
Mental health in adolescence
It has been studied that all around the world, 10% – 20% of adolescents experience mental health issues and even then remain undiagnosed and undertreated. A lot of the time these signs are overlooked because people are not aware about the conditions and the stigma that surrounds mental health also prevents them from seeking help actively.
Emotional disorders in adolescence
Emotional disorders appear first during adolescence. This could include depression and anxiety but in addition to this youngsters can also experience irritability, anger and frustration. Symptoms can overlap across more than one emotional disorder with rapid and unexpected changes in mood and emotional outbursts. Younger adolescents may additionally develop emotion-related physical symptoms such as stomach aches, nausea and severe headaches.
Psychosis in adolescence
Some of the symptoms that are indicative of psychosis in adolescence can include hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. These experiences of psychosis can greatly impair their ability to participate in routine tasks or even daily life and education. A lot of the time they are highly stigmatized in many parts of the world and have their human rights violated on some level.
Risk taking behaviors in adolescence
Many risk-taking behaviours for health, such as substance use or sexual-risk taking, start during adolescence. Limitations in adolescents’ ability to plan and manage their emotions, normalization of the taking of risks that have an impact on health among peers and contextual factors such as poverty and exposure to violence can increase the likelihood of engaging in risk-taking behaviours. Risk-taking behaviours can be both an unhelpful strategy to cope with poor mental health, and can negatively contribute to and severely impact an adolescent’s mental and physical well-being.