Youth Mental Health
What is mental health?
Mental health is all about looking after your head. Life can be tough at times, and we all go through ups and downs in our health, relationships, work or school. Good mental health means having the skills and support networks to deal with life’s challenges.
And just like physical health, mental health can range from a 'best possible' state, through to having a serious illness, but affecting thoughts, feelings or behaviour rather than our physical bodies. Most of us find ourselves somewhere in the middle of the range, just as we do for physical well being, but our state of health can change over time.
A mental health problem occurs when someone's thoughts or feelings are troubling them, to the extent of affecting their day to day activities or relationships. They may not necessarily have a mental illness, but could need help to get them through a difficult time. A mental health problem that isn't sorted out could lead to someone developing a mental illness.
A mental illness is a more serious or long-lasting problem, which can be diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional. It may require medical treatment as well as support. There are many different types, just as there are different forms of physical ill health. Examples include schizophrenia and clinical depression.
Young people and mental health
Adolescence is an amazing time of rapid changes, growing up and figuring out ‘who I really am’. It’s a unique time… but it can also be a pretty vulnerable time as well.
With so many changes going on in your mind, body and the world and people around you, it’s easy to lose your way a little. That’s normal.
Most young people at some time get that unsettling feeling and inner voice that says “everyone else is coping fine, I’m weird because this all feels like too much for me to handle.” But everyone feels out of their depth at some point along this road to independence.
Three-quarters of mental health problems first show up between the ages of 12 and 25, and spotting problems and getting support early could help prevent a problem becoming something more serious.
Some of the most common challenges that young people face to their mental health are: depression, anxiety, self harm, eating disorders, and addiction. Where these and other mental health problems begin to emerge, the earlier someone gets the support they need, the more likely they are to recover well and quickly.