The state of mental health in teens

Teenagers in the US are struggling when it comes to mental health.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Mental health disorders in teens have soared in recent years – and the COVID pandemic has only made things worse.

One in seven 10 to 19 year olds will experience a mental disorder with suicide being the fourth leading cause of death between the ages of 15 and 19. In the fall of 20-21, the American Academy of Pediatrics along with the US Surgeon General declared a devastating national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.

Teenagers in the US are struggling when it comes to mental health.

Today, one in five suffer from at least one mental health disorder. And studies show suicide rates have been increasing every year since 2007.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10 year olds to 34 year olds.” Explains Ian Adair, MS, Executive Director Gracepoint Foundation.

New research also suggests a teen’s mental health can affect their heart health later on. A study that looked at more than 20-thousand subjects found adults who were more optimistic as a teen were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. So how can you recognize the signs of trouble in your teen?

Adair says, “I think a couple of the biggest signs that we see are when anyone starts to become really withdrawn, and they don’t want to participate in things they normally are excited about.”

Other possible indicators include trouble sleeping, negative thoughts or actions, changes in appetite, anxiety, irritability, or personality changes. If you notice these issues – don’t try to immediately solve them!

“We go into parent mode, we go into fix it mode, we want to fix our kids no matter what’s wrong with them.”, explains Adair. Instead – listen to your child and encourage them to get professional help. It could spark a positive change that affects them for years to come.

Some of the most common mental health disorders in teens are depression, anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse disorders.