By: Trent Cox, Health Youth Ambassador

Mental Health Awareness In Youth

The awareness of mental health is something that people may recognize, but oftentimes it isn’t recognized enough. Mental health issues can stem from a wide range of things such as problems at school, work, or even in the home. 

Mental health issues are extremely prominent in our youth population. The National Institute of Mental Health states that 49.5% of adolescents report to suffer from mental illness of any kind. This data doesn’t account for those that don’t report mental illness meaning that number could be even higher! This is something I personally feel is not to be treated as just a statistic or something to put on the back burner. This needs to be taken seriously. Issues with mental health can result in people suffering from self harm, harming others, or suffering silently. 

Managing mental health

Luckily, there are ways we can manage our mental health. Everyone has different strategies that help calm themselves down in a stressful situation. It is important to pick up a hobby that doesn’t feel like a job. Activities like gardening, working out, sports, etc. are all great activities to help manage stress. Journaling is another great way to get your emotions out if you feel uncomfortable talking about your situation. I have a lot of peers that carry journals around and use them frequently as a stress reliever.

Ways to support your peers

One of the most important ways you can help someone dealing with mental health issues is by giving them support. One way you can do this is simply talking to them. Sometimes all people need is someone to talk to in order to prevent isolation and loneliness. It personally helps me when my friends relate to the emotions and stressors I feel. Teenagers need each other. Really, all people need someone with a shared experience. We can support each other by being there to listen and sharing ways that we have overcome times that were overwhelming. 

How adults can support

Adults can support the younger generation with mental health issues by preventing closed communication. If a teen feels like they cannot talk about their emotions with their parents or with adults, it is important to be patient with them and give them space when needed. It is also important to know when to speak up. Adults can be one of the most influential factors in preventing mental health issues and suicide rates from rising so recognizing when the young people in your life need to talk to a professional is extremely important.

So, whether you are an adult or teen, it is imperative to support anyone that might be dealing with mental health issues. It takes a collective effort that requires recognition from everyone that mental health is health. We need to band together to erase any stigma about reaching out and make mental health a frontline issue in healthcare. It will be lifesaving to our youth, and to everyone everywhere.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, text or call 988 to connect with the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for support and resources.