Adolescents face mental health challenges |

Adolescents face mental health challenges

Special to The R-C

One in five adolescents have had a serious mental health disorder, most commonly depression, anxiety disorders, or a substance use disorder. With the coronavirus outbreak, it has only worsened symptoms of emotional distress.

Most mental health problems diagnosed in adulthood begin in adolescence and the importance of managing mental health problems in adolescents can affect adult functioning in areas such as personal and social relationships, and performance in the workforce. There is an average delay of 11 years between the onset of symptoms of a mental illness and treatment. With only about 50 percent of youth in the United States receiving treatment, it leaves half of our youth unnoticed, uncared for, and vulnerable. According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, with females attempting three times more than males, but males completing suicide almost four times more as females.

Some common mental health warning signs for adolescents include:

■ Regularly feeling very angry or very worried

■ Having difficulty sleeping or eating

■ Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy

■ Isolating themselves and avoiding social interactions

■ Experiencing prolonged grief after loss

■ Obsessive exercising or eating

■ feeling their mind is not their own

■ harming themselves, other people and/or destruction of property

■ loss of energy

■ feeling a loss of control over emotions

Many different factors contribute to the psychological well-being of adolescents, but adolescents with a mental health condition are at greater risk of exclusion, discrimination, stigma, and ill physical health. Adolescents need access to comprehensive mental health services, and it is crucial that, not only during the time of this pandemic, our youth knows that we stand by them and can provide support. Promotion and prevention aimed at supporting mental health for our youth is available within your communities. Tahoe Youth & Family Services provides individual and group services that aide adolescents in diagnosing, managing and entering recovery from a mental health issue. As we work together on our social distancing, let us close the gap on mental distancing. If you need help, make an appointment at (775)782-4202.