How can we continue to talk about the importance of mental health awareness for teens AND children?

by Rahul Reddy

Embracing that special feeling of community, realizing I can depend on my friends and family in the most challenging moments has helped me to embrace the aspects of healthy, positive relationships. This includes trust, compassion, relaxation, and a real sense of belonging. Without these, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. So, you might be asking yourself, what’s expected if an individual can’t relate to this kind of experience? To be honest, I’m not sure because I can only speak for myself. But if anything, the state of their well-being, their mental health, will be affected.

Mental health is a way of describing social and emotional well-being. Everyone needs good mental health to develop in a healthy way, foster strong relationships, react to change and deal with life’s challenges. However, most people don’t realize how important it is in the younger age groups, specifically children and teens. One in every four or five youth in the general population meets the standard for a lifetime mental disorder. This risk increases for young people from low-income families and those involved with the juvenile justice or child welfare systems.

Additionally, adolescence can be a risky period for mental health problems. On top of environmental circumstances and genes, teenagers go through many changes and challenges in a short time. And this all happens while teenage brains are still maturing. People must know this simple yet powerful information as it’s one step towards continuing the talk about mental health awareness for teens and children.

There are many signs these age groups might need help with their mental health. For children younger than 12 years, these include repetitive sadness, a significant drop in academic efforts, persistent worries, problems with fitting in, and consistently aggressive behavior. For children 12 years and older, it could be the child feeling hopeless, lacking motivation, showing sudden changes in behavior, and many more. Knowing these facts and learning about mental health is crucial for spreading awareness to this area. Moreover, showing these individuals respect and acceptance removes the barrier that’ll prevent others from shying away from their illness. Seeing someone as an individual who wants to grow rather than a mental health illness can make the most significant difference for one who is struggling. The last thing we can all do to help is promoting this perspective within our circles of influence. This way, we can all help ensure these individuals have the same opportunities as other members of a particular religious environment, school, or community. In conclusion, I believe we should all advocate for mental health awareness, as it can genuinely build a young individual’s future and boost them to where they want to go in life.

Teen Mental Health