Mental Health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.” It is more than the absence of mental disorders; it also includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
Globally, it is estimated that 1 in 7 (14%) 10–19-year-olds experience mental health conditions, yet they remain to a significant extent ignored and untreated. Some of the significant mental health issues include:
- Emotional disorders: Anxiety / Panic Attacks and Depression
- Behavioral Disorders: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa
- Psychosis: Conditions that include symptoms of psychosis most commonly emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood. Symptoms can include hallucinations or delusions.
- Risk-taking and destructive behaviors: Substance abuse and sexual risk-taking
- Suicide and self-harm.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while there is no singular cause of mental health illnesses, there are several contributing factors such as:
- Trauma or history of abuse (Child abuse, sexual assault)
- Peer pressure
- Media influence and pressure (social media)
- Exposure to adversity (Severe socioeconomic problems)
- Violence (Sexual violence, Bullying)
- Biological factors (Chemical imbalances in the brain)
- Chronic Illness
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but the fear of being stigmatized hinders most people from speaking up and asking for help. To improve our mental health, we need to have open conversations between mental health professionals. Being physically active (e.g. exercise) can reduce the feeling of being stressed or feeling depressed or low, and it helps to improve your mood.
Action Health Incorporated (AHI) is a non-governmental organization whose goal is to significantly contribute to the advancement of the health and wellbeing of adolescents. You can always visit AHI’s youth-friendly clinic. Let us empower you to make healthy choices.
- World Health Organization, Strengthening Mental Health Promotion Programmes – Fact Sheet no. 220. Accessed on July 5, 2023
- Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx), Accessed on July 5, 2023