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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

How can teenagers deal with mental distress?

Analysing teenage psychological well-being and a guide to coping with mental disturbances.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 25, 2020 1:56:34 pm
mental health, teenage problems, teenage issues, young adults, parental issues, Here’s what to know about teenage mental health issues. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Being a teenager is not easy, juggling homework, extra-curricular activities, friends and maintaining an image on social media. Numerous physical and social changes including exposure to financial challenges or abuse can make them vulnerable to mental health problems, suggested Chandra Ganjoo, executive director and group CPO, Trivitron Healthcare.

Promoting mental well-being and shielding teenagers from an unfriendly environment is critical for their physical and psychological growth in adulthood. Equally important for teens is to be able to analyse and ask oneself: “Is this a spell of teenage stress, or is it something else?”

Mental health determinants

Multiple factors determine mental health outcomes. Factors that can contribute to stress during teenage include a desire for greater autonomy, pressure to adjust to peers, exploration of sexual orientation, and increased access to and use of technology. Influence of social media, gender norms can intensify the disparity between a teen’s lived reality and their aspirations for the future. Other significant determinants include the quality of their life and relationship with peers. Violence (including harsh parenting and bullying) and financial issues are also recognised as dangers to emotional well-being and have a clear association with detrimental mental health.

Few teenagers are at greater risk of mental health conditions because of their day-to-day environments, stigma, discrimination or exclusion, or lack of access to quality support and services. These include young adults living in humanitarian and fragile settings; youths with constant ailment, autism spectrum disorder, an intellectual disability or other neurological condition; or those in early and/or forced marriages; orphans; and teens from minority ethnic or sexual backgrounds or other discriminated groups.

Teens with mental well-being conditions are in turn, particularly vulnerable to social exclusion, separation, shame, educational difficulties, risk-taking behaviours, physical ill health and human rights infringement.

mental health, teenage problems, teenage issues, young adults, parental issues, The more risk factors teens are exposed to, the more noteworthy impact on their mental health. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

As a teenager with mental health issues, what can you do?

Mental health problems are unlikely to show signs of improvement on their own, so you have to get professional assistance as soon as possible. Poor mental health or unmanaged psychological well-being issues can influence your personal satisfaction, physical well-being, homework, connections and advancement – social, physical, personal and professional.

Get rid of thoughts of loneliness, you are not alone

Undergoing mental health issues in this age group is quite common, with nearly 20 per cent of teens aged 13-18 reportedly facing such challenges.

Unfortunately, there’s such a stigma attached to mental sickness, in teens as well as in adults, that many people are scared to talk or ask for help. This is probably the reason why some people wait for as long as eight to 10 years to find support after first encountering any symptoms. This is something that needs to change.

ALSO READ | Matters of the mind: Response, resilience and recovery — the three-dimensional strategy for mental health 

It’s perfectly fine to seek help from experts

It’s great to have friends to talk, but when a teen deals with something heavier than general stress, it’s best to turn to a professional — a counsellor. In the long run, they will be grateful they did that.

In case they are too shy to meet a counsellor, they can consult online experts to talk and express their problems.

In a nutshell

It is important to take care of the needs of young adults with defined mental issues. They must be supported and encouraged to talk and express themselves without any prejudice. Parents and guardians must look for warning signs of depression in their kids and if necessary, seek expert consultation. Teenagers, being the most vulnerable, must be made to realise that together, every problem can be solved and most importantly, suicide is never an option, it never was, and it never will be.

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