Mental health illnesses are often attributed to adults, but in truth, young people are as much affected by mental disorders as adults and usually suffer in silence.
In reality, about half of mental health problems begin to develop in childhood. Well, this is a very serious matter that should be looked into so they can get the help they desperately need.
Mental health disorders in young people
Although the symptoms are different, children can develop the same mental health disorders as adults. According to the research center ChildTrends.org, approximately 1 in 5 adolescents has a mental illness that could be diagnosed. Depression, anxiety, personality and behavioral disorders are some of those disorders.
Almost 5 million children in the United States have a serious mental health condition, one that significantly interferes with their everyday normal life. Every year, 20% of the children in America will be diagnosed with a mental illness.
What causes mental health disorders in children
Usually, it is a combination of factors that might be involved in the cause of a mental illness. Heredity, biology, psychological trauma, and environmental stress are some of them. Furthermore, some neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can be found in abnormal levels in the brain.
Psychologically, children with mental health problems have low self-esteem, a poor body image, a tendency to be highly critical of themselves and a feeling a being helpless when dealing with negative events.
In teens with mental health disorders, they have trouble dealing with body changes and with fluctuating hormones in puberty, as well as teen uncertainty toward increased independence. They also have difficulty with the changes in their relationships with parents, peers, and others.
Mental illnesses that appear in childhood may be caused by environmental stress, including being the victim of verbal, physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, or school problems like bullying or peer pressure.
Learn how to identify the signs
To be able to get the help the child needs, parents should learn how to identify the signs. Unfortunately, many adults don’t know what are those signs and symptoms in children. However, early identification and the proper treatment can literally be a question of life and death for young people with mental illnesses.
The infographic below is a useful tool that can help you recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems in children. Created by Top Counseling Schools, this infographic shows the signs of mental health illnesses categorized by age groups.
- Age 4-7, preschool/early elementary years
- Age 7-11, grade school years
- Age 11-19, tween and teen years
Each group reveals the signs of mental illnesses for this group. In the infographic, you’ll also find other valuable information regrouped in these sections:
- Percentage of the most common disorders among children between the age of 8 and 15
- Ripple effects (Issues with family and school)
Sadly, mental health problems or certain medications related to mental health in young people are still stigmatized. The fear of being judged could prevent the parents from seeking care for their child.
We have a long way to go before mental health disorders are seen in the same manner as other health issues. It’s up to us to get informed and put the prejudices aside for the well-being of our children.
Over to you
What do you think of these facts about mental health in young people? Did you know about this? Please share your thoughts and personal experiences with us in the comment box below!