Article Contributed by The People of Nora
You hear the word ‘youth’. What are the first synonyms that come to mind? ‘Young? Healthy? Energetic?’ That’s understandable. Those are just adjectives that society has linked with the demographic. In reality, although the youth are often thought to be a healthy age group, many of them suffer from mental illness, and often, in silence.
Adolescence is a unique period of life. A teen is figuring out who they will be as an adult as they begin to leave childhood behind. Teenagers are now faced with the burden of sorting out an enormously complex environment and learning how to properly traverse it.
They're starting to fit together all of the puzzle parts that make them who they are at this point in their lives — their identity! They're also learning the ropes of becoming independent.
The multitude of physical, psychological, and emotional changes that occur during this sensitive age put young people at the greatest risk of a variety of mental-health issues. Hence, as they transition from infancy to adulthood, young individuals are more vulnerable to a variety of mental illnesses(Fisher, Jane, et al. "Prevalence and determinants of common perinatal mental disorders in women in low-and lower-middle-income countries: a systematic review." Bulletin of the World Health Organization 90 (2012): 139-149.).
Several studies conducted at community level reported the prevalence of child and adolescent mental disorders varying from 1.06% to 5.84% in rural areas, 0.8% to 29.4% in urban areas, and 12.5% to 16.5% in studies that were conducted in both rural and urban populations, although these have small sample sizes and are not completely demonstrative (Malhotra S, Patra BN. Prevalence of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders in India: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2014;8:22.).
Contrasting with the usual synonyms that are associated with the youth; conflict, hazardous behaviour, and extreme mood swings have long been thought to be a necessary component of normal adolescence.
Thanks to a highly prominent theory by Hall G. Stanley, "Storm and Stress", we now understand that puberty does not have to be a period of great angst. Many of today's teenagers go through adolescence with just minor conflicts with their families and a few "hard patches." While there are certainly some kids who struggle, we no longer assume that struggle and conflict are a vital part of the adolescent experience.
Needless to say, parents and guardians obviously play a huge role in this particular demographic’s mental and physical well-being. They can either be allies or adversaries in their adolescent's mental health journey because of their proximity to the subject in question.
Traumatic incidents are particularly widespread among children and adolescents in both low- and middle-income countries, as well as within urban areas in high-income countries, according to research on the subject. Physical assault, domestic violence, an impaired caregiver, emotional abuse, communal violence, witnessing someone being harmed or killed, unexpected news of a loved one's death, and a sudden accident or sickness are some of the most common types of trauma described by teens.
To avoid this turbulence, support and positive discipline is vital in our opinion. Working together to establish new routines and attainable daily goals while making sure that they have enough time and space to be independent seems like the way to go as teens may try to maintain control in the face of an uncertain environment and restricted alternatives.
Empathizing with their need to establish control in such a situation, as difficult as it may be at the moment, rather than fighting back or overpowering it is what we would suggest!
Take some time to consider how you and your adolescent can handle a disagreement when it arises. You may share these reflections with your teen so they can see how you think about things. This way, you can play an active role in making sure that they have positive mental health outcomes, however sometimes professional intervention is necessary and beneficial. Do not hesitate to consult a mental health medical practitioner if you feel that your teen needs it or has asked for it. We promise you your ‘almost adult’ will appreciate it!