Young people and mental health in a changing world
Today, October 10, 2018 is observed worldwide as World Mental Health Day. The theme this year is ‘Young people and mental health in a changing world’. Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, For many, these are exciting times but they can also be times of stress and apprehension. Understanding mental health at this stage is important
The world is in state of constant change, be it communication and technology or the general ethos of public life. People are getting closer via internet and mobiles however communication at a personal level has seen a decline; and therein lies the stress. Some of the neo-stressors include need to be popular and visible on social media. Mental health and youth therefore assumes paramount importance. Due to the difference of opinion due to the ‘generation gap’, they are likely to be misunderstood. In this age group, bodily changes, hormonal changes, changing social standing and a maturing mind contribute to complex challenges when it comes to mental health parameters.
To know what research tells us is summarised below: Half of the mental illness begin at this age Common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety have markedly different presentations as compared to adults Substance use both as a mental health deterrent as well as substance dependence itself has roots in this age group Abuse at this age predisposes to mental illness in adulthood Eye sees what the mind knows. The more we know the better guides we may be. Mental health like physical health embodies a healthy lifestyle. Some of the early warning signs include staying aloof or acting differently, irritable behaviour, anger or moodiness, lack of self-care or risky behaviour, spending time away from home and experimenting with drugs. Parents and teachers play a vital role in shaping adolescents and the first role model. Spending time with them, increased communication helps. Counsellor availability at schools and colleges improves the chance of early detection and therefore better management. Identifying signs and symptoms transcends to early intervention, and hence a lesser burden of illness and early recovery.
The writer is the Editor of Psychiatric Society of Goa
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