Mental Health Warning Signs in Teens: What You Need to Know
It can be hard to know what’s normal adolescent grumpiness even in the best of times. This year, it’s more important than ever to recognize the warning signs for mental health problems, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in depression, anxiety and suicide.
This year, Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day.
Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness
Mental health conditions have different symptoms, but there are some common signs that often show up when adolescents and young adults are struggling. Be on the lookout for:
- Avoiding friends or previously pleasurable activities
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Changes in school performance
- Excessive worrying
- Extreme mood swings
- Irritability or anger that goes beyond normal teen “acting out”
- Mentions of suicide or that the world would be better off without them
- Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
- Problems concentrating and learning
- Prolonged sadness or crying, especially over seemingly minor issues
- Substance abuse
Mental Health Problems Present Differently in Young Men and Women
Women are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems, but men are more likely to succeed in their suicide attempts. According to studies, it’s likely that gender-related experiences and stereotypes can influence diagnosis and treatment. Many girls and women are more open to talking about their problems, while boys and men have been encouraged to be “strong.” This can lead to a lack of recognition of problems or of treatment in young men, whose anger or withdrawal may present as “normal” instead of the warning sign that it is.
Help Is Here For You and Your Family
At Augusta University Health, we can provide the care you need to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and addiction. Our Patient-and-Family Centered Care approach can help treat even the most challenging psychiatric struggles with the thoughtful compassion your entire family needs.