Everything You Need To Know About Child & Teen Mental Health
1 in 5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition. How do we know when behavior requires a professional opinion?
July 15, 2023
Child and adolescent mental health has finally started to get the attention it deserves. Behavior that was once seen as kids being kids—like teens being rebellious or children misbehaving at home or school—may be due to the onset of mental health conditions in young people.
Over half of all cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five kids and teens live with a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. The earlier these conditions are acknowledged, the greater the impact providers, parents, and peers can have.
Keep Reading To Learn
- The signs of positive and negative mental health in children and adolescents
- How to identify symptoms of common mental health disorders in kids and teens
- Ways that conditions are diagnosed and treated in young people
Understanding the Full Picture of Mental Health in Children and Teens
When children and teenagers are mentally healthy, they function well at home and school, and in society. However, when health care professionals, parents, and teachers discuss mental health in children, they are often talking about those experiencing mental health disorders.
It’s important to identify the characteristics of a mentally healthy child or adolescent. By understanding what a mentally healthy child looks like, we can learn to identify symptoms of disorders and recognize health care problems that need to be addressed.
Children and teenagers who are mentally healthy are strong learners. This includes learning in the classroom, but also learning how to function socially.
Children who feel well-adjusted with regards to schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and chores at home are likely to experience healthy development as they grow up. Furthermore, teens who have jobs should be able to function appropriately at work as well.
Kids and teens who are mentally healthy should also be able to feel, manage, and express a wide range of both positive and negative emotions. It should be relatively easy to tell when mentally healthy children are happy or sad.
Furthermore, children and teenagers who are mentally healthy should be able to talk about these topics. While it is normal for children and teens to have some degree of privacy, they should also be able to open up.
Young people should be able to form and maintain positive relationships with others. This includes not only their peers, but also their siblings, parents, and teachers. If there are pets in the home, then they should have positive relationships with non-human members of the family as well.
Children and adolescents should be able to cope with and manage fluctuating circumstances. Even though it is normal for kids and teens to express some degree of uncertainty when it comes to changes in their schedules or routines, they should be able to adapt with the help of others. When children and teenagers have strong coping mechanisms, this is an indicator of good mental health.