WHO warns of cases of mental disorders in adolescence

A new bulletin from the World Health Organization (WHO) brought alarming data on the mental health of the young population. According to the agency, half of all cases of disorders begin at age 14, with the majority not being detected and treated.

Another very worrying statistic points to suicide as the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 19 years.

The dissemination of these figures by WHO is also part of the campaign that addresses “young people and mental health in a changing world”. This was the theme chosen in 2018 for World Mental Health Day, remembered on October 10. The proposal is to raise awareness in society and recognize the mental problems of the age group that comprises 10 to 19 years old.

For the organization, the harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs is one of the main habits that can trigger risky behavior among adolescents.

Among these factors is unprotected sex, responsible for increasing the chances of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and early pregnancy.

Eating disorders are also worrisome, as they are often accompanied by anxiety , depression and other mental disorders, usually related to feelings of anguish, guilt and sadness.

Behind all this scenario, the social pressure and stress generated by changes in the adolescence phase can be decisive in bringing harm to the mental health of young people.

Awareness helps prevent

Talking about aspects of mental health and letting go of prejudice helps to prevent disorders. According to the WHO “the consequences of not addressing the mental health conditions of adolescents extend to adulthood, impairing physical and mental health and limiting future opportunities”.

In Brazil, campaigns such as September Yellow help to promote this awareness. This particular initiative was created by the Centro de Valorização da Vida (CVV), an organization that works on suicide prevention, providing a free channel for people who need to talk about their anxieties.

Likewise, it is important that there are interventions in schools and communities, teaching people to conquer mental resilience, that is, the ability to deal with adverse situations in the current world.

Know how to identify the signs and symptoms

The feeling of sadness for most of the day and often is one of the most characteristic signs of depression. In addition, disinterest and lack of pleasure in daily activities can serve as a warning. There are also physical symptoms, which can include fatigue and changes in sleep.

Read more: Symptoms of depression (physical, psychological, postpartum): what are they?

But when it comes to mental health, it is not just depression that deserves to be highlighted. Anxiety disorders have also taken a good portion of the young population to doctors’ offices. The diagnoses can vary between generalized anxiety, panic syndrome, social phobia or even be accompanied by other disorders, such as depression itself.

People with anxiety usually experience irritability, stress, irrational fear, apprehension and a feeling of agitation. Excessive worry coupled with constant negative thoughts are also frequent in these cases.

In general, it is important to seek professional help whenever these symptoms start to cause damage to everyday life. When noticing any suicidal thoughts or behavior, medical consultation is essential.