With thoughts of earning good grades, acing the big tests, balancing extracurricular
activities, fitting in with classmates and getting into the college of their choice swirling around in their heads, it’s no wonder today’s youth is stressed out. For some, the pressure could lead to mental health issues, like feelings of anxiety, depression and other disorders. Add in a breakup with a significant other or fight with a close friend, and it could begin to feel like things will never get better.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), one in five teens and
young adults live with a mental health condition. Half of them develop the condition by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. The consequences of a lack of treatment are vast. NAMI lists suicide as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for individuals aged 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24.
The organization outlines these 10 common warning signs of a mental health condition:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself or making plans to do so
- Severe out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors
- Sudden, overwhelming fear for no reason
- Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight
- Seeing, hearing or believing things that are not real
- Repeatedly using drugs or alcohol
- Drastic changes in mood, behaviors, personality or sleeping habits
- Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
For parents, being aware of these signs is the first step in getting their child the care they
need. It’s important to vocalize that their feelings are legitimate and to create a safe space for them to share those feelings in a healthy way. With the support of those closest to them, as well as the help of a specialist if necessary, today’s youth can better handle the pressure they face.