About Youth Mental Health
Given the rapid biological, psychological and social changes that occur during the teenage years, adolescence represents a period of elevated risk for mental health (Reference: Mind Matters).
One in four young people have experienced a mental health issue in the past 12 months – a higher prevalence than all other age groups. Alarmingly, suicide is the leading cause of death of young people, accounting for one third of all deaths.
Research shows that 75 per cent of mental health issues emerge before the age of 25. By treating these issues early and providing a holistic model of support, the risk of them developing into more serious problems is greatly decreased (Reference: headspace).
Enhancing the social skills, problem-solving skills and self confidence of young people can help prevent mental health problems such as conduct disorders, anxiety, depression and eating disorders as well as other risk behaviors including those that relate to sexual behavior, substance abuse, and violent behaviour (Reference: World Health Organisation).
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What is Mental Health?
Good mental health is about being able to work and study to your full potential, cope with day-to-day life stresses, be involved in your community, and live your life in a free and satisfying way.
A person who has good mental health has good emotional and social wellbeing and the capacity to cope with change and challenges.
Mental Health Problems
Feeling down, tense, angry or anxious are all normal emotions, but when these feelings persist for long periods of time they may be part of a mental health problem. Mental health problems can influence how you think and your ability to function in your everyday activities, whether at school, at work or in relationships.
It can be helpful to talk to someone about what’s going on in your life if you have noticed a change in how you are feeling and thinking. This might include:
- Feeling things have changed or aren’t quite right
- Changes in the way that you carry out your day-to-day life
- Not enjoying, or not wanting to be involved in things that you would normally enjoy
- Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
- Being easily irritated or having problems with friends and family for no reason
- Finding your performance at school, TAFE, university or work is not as good as it used to be
- Being involved in risky behaviour that you would usually avoid, like taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol, or depending on these substances to feel “normal”
- Feeling sad or ‘down’ or crying for no apparent reason
- Having trouble concentrating or remembering things
- Having negative, distressing, bizarre or unusual thoughts
- Feeling unusually stressed or worried.
Tips for a healthy headspace
Good mental health allows you to deal with the changes and challenges life throws at you and live your life in a positive and meaningful way. It includes things like being able to work and study, deal with day-to-day life stress, feel connected to others, be involved in activities in your community and ‘bounce back’ when things go wrong.
There are a number of ways you can look after your mental health and wellbeing every day:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat Well
- Stay active
- Keep learning
- Make time to relax
- Cut back on alcohol and other drugs
- Seek help
For more information, visit headspace – Tips for a healthy headspace