World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10, this year and giving prime importance to the theme ‘Young People and Mental Health in a changing world’. Mental health is described as a state of well-being and is important at every stage of life as a baby, child, and adolescent as well as throughout adulthood. The youth is defined by the United Nations as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years.
Young people form precious human resources in every country. They have complex emotions and are aware of emotions in their environment that may manifest as low self-esteem, sadness, irritability, self-harm and so on. The young and adolescent age is the period for major physiological, emotional and social changes and the most vulnerable age for the onset of most mental disorders.
Depression is a serious concern among youth and suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds. Young people are witnessing violence and disasters on a regular basis and can be affected by these events around them and the consequences of these events can be long-lasting. An adolescent girl dies as a result of violence every 10 minutes somewhere in the world. Poor mental health is strongly related to other health and development concerns in young people, which include lower educational abilities, substance abuse, and violence. Adolescence can be a trivial time since there are a lot of changes in the body while they hit puberty, body image issues, and social media bullying. All this can lead to mental health problems. Other causes could be genetic factors as well as traumatic incidents in a teenager’s life.
A strong relationship exists between poor mental health and many other health and development concerns for young people, notably with educational achievements, substance use and abuse, violence, and reproductive and sexual health. The risk factors for mental disorders are well established, and substantial progress has been made in developing effective interventions for such problems. Research has also identified the following risk factors among our youth: Those who suffered a traumatic experience, poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, poor quality sleep, excessive use of cell phones, tablets, computers, television, youth who are bullied at schools and colleges, with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, with a family member who has anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or suffering from substance abuse and poor management of coping with stress.
The acts of prevention, early interventions, resilience, available information, and services are the key factors in creating a healthy future for our young people. A young person with support, stability and the information will usually lead to a positive, healthy adult.
With increasing awareness and dialogue about mental health, many psychiatrists and counselors conceded that there has been a surge in the number of patients they are treating. However, most felt the stigma attached to visiting a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist is still deep-seated and many suffer in silence.
Dr. R Balakrishnan, a psychiatrist at Ramachandra Hospital, said that there are more people seeking help, especially youngsters, due to increased awareness and exposure to the wealth of information available on the Internet. “About 10 years back, I would see only five to ten patients a day.
Now, I see close to 25 cases a day in the hospital and about 15 cases in my clinic. Often, they are people who come in with physical symptoms. Seeking help for mental disturbance is still a taboo. The stigma is fuelled by the cultural notion that mental health should not be talked about because ‘you should not make an issue out of nothing’ and just ‘learn to deal with it’,” said Dr. Gauthamadas, a specialist in neuro-behavioral medicine at DocGautham’s Neuro Center.
World Mental Health Day was first observed on 10 October 1992. It was initially started by the World Federation for Mental Health. The day is observed on October 10th every year from then on. When it first started, there was no particular theme. Its general aim to educate people about mental health and its issue. The goal of World Mental Health Day is to increase awareness about mental health and the importance of mental health in the overall health of a person. On this day, the idea is to empower people suffering from mental health problems and encourage them to open up about it. According to the World Health Organization, there is now a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience at an early age. This helps adolescents cope with challenges of today’s world in a better way.
On World Mental Health Day, the idea is to build mental resilience from an early age to prevent mental illness among adolescents and young adults. Prevention begins with awareness and gaining a better understanding of early warning and signs of mental illnesses. Awareness can primarily be increased in educational institutions like schools and colleges. Schools can also work towards providing children with psychological support. Also, healthcare professionals need to be trained to detect and manage mental health disorders in a better way.
Governments and people in authority need to work towards getting evidence-based programs for the mental health of young people in place. Investments should be made in both the health and education sectors. This will help adolescents and young adults to take care of their mental health and support their friends as well.