The Mental Health Crisis Among Children and Young Adults

Debra Blackwell
Mental Health CrisisPhoto byGoogle Images

According to the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, the mental health of children and young adults has faced significant challenges within the last five years. Their data highlights an urgency for effective mental health services and support. In 2022 alone, 18% of 7–16-year-olds and 22% of 17–24-year-olds had, or do have, a mental health difficulty. These issues range from anxiety that, in many cases, leads to depression, ADHD, eating disorders, PTSD, and Schizophrenia, to name a few.

Mental Health disorders in children can be challenging to understand, as childhood development is a process that involves change. Other factors that may prevent parents or loved ones from seeking care may come from the stigma associated with mental health issues, medications, cost, or treatment challenges. However, mental health at any age is overall wellness of thinking, regulating our feelings and behavior. Changes in thought patterns or feelings can result in distress and disrupt a person’s ability to function.

Some of the warning signs associated with mental difficulty include but are not limited to:

Persistent sadness that lasts two weeks or more

Withdrawing or avoiding social interaction

Hurting or talking about hurting oneself

Talking about death or suicide

Out-of-control behavior that has the potential to harm

Drastic changes in moods or personality

Weight loss

Change in eating habits

Change in sleeping patterns

Frequent headaches or stomachaches

Difficulty focusing

Change in academic performance

Avoiding or missing school

These signs pertain not only to adolescent-age children but to younger adult people who may be in a college setting, workplace, or signs noticed by family members within the home.

As mental health difficulties continue to rise, it has become imperative attention is paid to the signs and knowledge gained on some of the causes. However, mental health issues can be treated, and for children and young adults, being mentally healthy means having the ability to have a positive and well-functioning quality of life, which applies to people of all ages.

As more light is shed on the mental health crisis within our country, more treatment becomes readily available, and the stigma begins to dissipate. If that stigma causes a person to refuse to seek care, we must encourage raising awareness that our mental health is no longer a dark area but just as important as our physical health. Looking at some of the causes of adolescent and young adult mental health difficulties is vital to acknowledge, as changes can and are being made.

A few causes of mental health issues stem from genetics, poverty, a world of bullying, emotional support within the family unit, and negative experiences one may have endured. These are only a few causes to be addressed; however, the era of remote learning without regular social interaction caused many children to become depressed, withdrawn, and experience social anxiety once pandemic restrictions were decreased, allowing them to return to school. This holds true for young adults who were also adapted to social interaction whether in an academic or social setting. Older adults have more of a capacity to endure, adjust and understand than the mind not fully developed.

According to the CDC, in combination with other professional agencies that address mental health difficulties, the portrayal of a mental health crisis amongst our children and young adults is alarming. Therefore, awareness of mental health issues is critical to the quality of life for our present and future generations.

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Debra Blackwell has been writing content for over 20 years. Breaking news, news that impacts our country, such as social injustice, operations that impact incarcerated individuals, homelessness, and relevant local news her most passionate interests.

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