10th of October 2022 is recognized as World Mental Health Day with the aim of raising awareness of mental health issues worldwide. The theme brought forward by the World Health Organization (WHO) for this year is “Young People and mental health in a changing world” which encourages us to be mindful of the issues facing the younger generations.
Mental health of the youth has been declining over time but has been increased rapidly due to the economic and social stress which have been created due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. Spreading awareness on the effect of mental health on youth is necessary as many youths are subjected to high levels of stress and trauma on a daily basis. This allows communities across all demographic groups to recognize the warning signs and to prevent the dismissal of mental health struggles as another “habit”. In other words, making youth spend less time on their phones or computers would not make their depression and anxiety disappear.
A study was shown to prove that over 60% of youth with depression and anxiety have not received any mental health treatment, even in the most developed of countries. Although the factors leading to mental health struggles in youth today are wide- ranging, the most common reason that is led to believe that the root of the mental health crisis is social media, even though data has shown that social media is not the driving force of the mental health crisis in the youth.
Young people and their families can easily ignore the warning signs due to the lack of awareness on the definition of mental illnesses and how to diagnose and treat these illnesses. Awareness today focuses on directing youth and their families towards a more holistic understanding of the factors that trigger mental illnesses, before making any assumptions.
Organizations such as The National Council for Mental Health and The National Institute of Mental Health educate parents and youth on the early signs of mental health conditions and provides guidance on how to find help, talk to peers and adults and on the methods to actively manage strong emotions and thereby allowing parents to feel less alone and capable of navigating a mental health diagnosis and treatment plan.
Providing awareness of mental health warning signs, ways to get accessible care, but most importantly identifying the methods in engaging in honest conversations with loved ones can go a long way in helping youth feel seen, respected, and loved as they navigate strong and overwhelming emotions. This creates an environment where everyone, irrespective of age and gender, can count on each other to protect the youth in a world that is saturated with information and social stimulation that is difficult to filter and ignore.
Written by : Rtr. Diadri Weerasekara
Thumbnail Designed by : Aron Fernando