Let's try and talk to our adolescents on issues affecting their mental health.

August 23, 2022

  • Unlike in the past when there was not much involvement of the internet space. It was rare for children to suffer depression and anxiety.

Globally, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease in this age group. Depression, anxiety and behavioural disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.

According to a report done by World Health Organization, some adolescents are at greater risk of mental health conditions due to their living conditions, stigma, discrimination or exclusion, or lack of access to quality support and services. These include adolescents living in humanitarian and fragile settings; adolescents with chronic illness, autism spectrum disorder, an intellectual disability or other neurological condition; pregnant adolescents, adolescent parents, or those in early or forced marriages; orphans; and adolescents from minority ethnic or sexual backgrounds or other discriminated groups.

Mental health among adolescents may lead to suicidal thoughts among adolescents with no hope of a better life in future. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-19 year-olds.The consequences of failing to address adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.

In addition, depression and anxiety could lead to one adopting immoral behaviors as a way of escaping reality. These behaviors may include stealing and use of drugs and alcohol. Others also end up bullying their peers online or physically. This they do with intention to feel good about themselves as some of them may have been victims in the past.

As WHO is developing and testing scalable psychological interventions to address emotional disorders of adolescents, and guidance on mental health services for adolescents. Parents, teachers and guardians should try and talk to the adolescents by listening to them effectively. This they should do without judging them but instead judge the behaviors as bad. They may also try and not compare their children with themselves when they were young. This is because this generation is more different and needs to be handled differently.

The government may also offer training and educate adolescents and parents on how to handle issues affecting mental health. This especially to those who are victims of sexual assault both boys and girls. Also young children and adolescents should make friends with their peers inorder to learn the importance of communication with one another. This will enable them to open up their feelings and thoughts.

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