What are the mental health issues faced by the youth?
Young people can face a range of mental health problems. Most mental disorders begin before the age of 24, although they are often first detected later in life. Poor mental health is strongly related to other health and development concerns from early childhood onwards, notably child neglect and abuse, low educational attainment and a variety of stress points at home, in school or the community. The most common mental health problems that come up in this age group are emotional distress characterised by anxiety and depression and behavioural disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and disruptive behaviour. Mental health problems and high social pressure can lead to self-harm, a leading cause for mortality in young Indian.
How can one deal with relationships, academics, peer pressure, family issues?
* Share your feelings and problems with family and friends, this can help reduce the sense of loneliness when in distress
* Participate in sports, exercise, school activities or hobbies. Staying busy helps one focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviour
* Try relaxation and meditation exercises, such as those used in some yoga techniques
* Do not resort to substances like tobacco or alcohol to help feel better; they may help in the short-term but will cause long-term damage
* Try to understand why you are feeling low; is there a problem which you need to address but have been avoiding? Are you misinterpreting a situation and reading it in a negative way?
* There is no shame in seeking professional help
How to identify if one is suffering from mental disorders?
The theme for this year’s Word Mental Health Day is ‘psychological first aid’, which aims to increase awareness of basic mental health first aid. To promote an environment of calm, hope and help people with acute mental health problems. It is important for all of us to have a basic knowledge of common mental health symptoms, some of which are listed below:
* Prolonged feelings of anxiety or tension
* Prolonged feelings of sadness, loss of interest or irritability
* Social withdrawal such as from friends
* Changes in eating or sleeping habits
* Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities such as studies
* Suicidal thoughts
* Numerous unexplained physical complaints like headaches and tiredness
Guidelines for students, teachers and parents
Some of the things that parents, peers and teachers need to do:
* Encourage a zero-tolerance policy on violence in schools and home
* Look out for young people who may be isolated or bullied or whose school attendance or grades suddenly dip; these may all be signs of mental health problems
* Encourage young people with emotional or behavioural concerns to talk about their feelings. Try to understand why. Listen, don’t lecture
* If it seems that the situation may be serious, encourage the young person to seek counselling help and share their concerns with key adults in the youth’s life — family, friends and teachers
* Pay attention to talk about suicide. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussions
Why is it important to engage young people in mental health dialogue?
The guiding principle of engaging adolescents is an acknowledgment of their central role as agents of change and their right to information and services, with voices that are unique and complement scientific perspectives. To this end, one must create a platform for a genuine dialogue between young people and key stakeholders around mental health, to build adolescent capacities to address mental health problems and to identify strategies to address the stigma associated with mental health and increase adolescent knowledge of services and awareness of their rights.
Is technology to be held responsible for the mental stress on young minds?
It could be in some instances, for example if the young person becomes totally absorbed in the internet and loses contact with friends/families/other activities, or due to cyber-bullying. However, technology can also offer exciting opportunities for young people to access mental health care through a variety of online help sites and self-help apps.