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Mental Health in Youth

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

Researcher & Writer: Ruka ARAKAKI

Illustrators: Ellie LIU & Lianna LEE


Being an adolescent can be confusing. We start growing up to try and prepare ourselves for adulthood. During this time we may even discover things about ourselves we didn't know. However, adolescents living in 2022 are surrounded by social media, relationships, rigorous education, and so on. Many of these things can be overwhelming for a teenager to handle all at once which can lead to deteriorating mental health.


According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the most common mental health illnesses are anxiety, mood, attention, and behavior disorders.


Anxiety is a typical response when one faces a nerve-wracking situation, however, if one feels anxious all the time this raises concern. Some common factors that contribute to adolescents experiencing anxiety can be, high expectations, hormones, brain development, parental disapproval, peer pressure, drinking, drug use, and depression.


Social media exposes teenagers to negative mindsets about their looks, social perception and can disrupt their sleep schedule. Studies from Mayo Clinic have shown relationships between high-level usage of social media and depressive symptoms. Additionally, social media is a platform for others to see images such as body images. Young teenagers who spend lots of time on social media may get the idea of the “perfect body” by seeing how others comment on body types. This can be very dangerous as social media can encourage the idea of over-exercising or eating disorders. For adults, it is important to regularly communicate and check in with the youth. Moreover, educating the younger generation about different body types and a healthy lifestyle can build self-esteem and resilience throughout the teenage years.



With teenagers, they have to balance out responsibilities and relationships all at once which can make them put pressure on themselves and create high expectations. Teenagers may stress about their grades, exams, extracurriculars, and university applications. All these responsibilities can limit their time for relaxation and sleep. The expectations of having to be a well-rounded student can overwhelm students leading them to develop mental health problems and in more severe cases suicide. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, many students’ education has been disrupted, and had to learn to cope with online learning. However, once returning to school, it may be hard for students again as they have to get used to being back at school.


With the risk students are of developing mental health issues, there are ways to cope with or prevent stress caused by school. Exercising has been an effective method as it releases endorphins, a hormone that relieves pain, stress and improves well-being. If students are unable to access a gym, they could go for a walk, do a home workout or try yoga. Getting sufficient sleep is important in maintaining mental health. However, stress can affect sleep so before sleeping, doing something relaxing can make it easier to get to sleep. This could be reading, taking a bath, etc. It is also recommended to avoid screens before sleeping as much as possible and switch off all electronics an hour before sleeping.



Bibliography


Mental health disorders in adolescents. ACOG. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2017/07/mental-health-disorders-in-adolescents


Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2018, February 22). Eating disorders. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eating-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20353603


Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, February 26). How to help your teen navigate social media. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teens-and-social-media-use/art 20474437#:~:text=Social%20media%20harms,much%20social%20media%20teen


Common causes of anxiety in teens and young adults. Paradigm Treatment. (2021, March 6). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://paradigmtreatment.com/anxiety-teens-young-adults/common-causes/


The Standard. (n.d.). Seven students end their lives in May, record high in three years. The Standard. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/190761/Seven-students-end-their-lives-in-May,-record-high-in-three-years


Smith, W. by J. (n.d.). 5 ways to manage student stress. Prospects.ac.uk. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.prospects.ac.uk/applying-for-university/university-life/5-ways-to-manage-student-stress



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