Mental illness rates in young people are on the rise. In fact, teen and adolescent mental health statistics show approximately one in five youth meet criteria for at least one mental illness. Mental health issues can affect all areas of a teen’s life, from school performance to self-esteem, to how they form relationships. At HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, we focus on the mental health of young people through educating the public and providing a wide range of youth mental health services.
Teen and Adolescent Mental Health Disorders
Mental health struggles are common amongst teens and adolescents. Noticing possible signs of a mental illness in your child can be overwhelming and frightening. But, the more you understand about the mental health issues faced by young people today, the better equipped you can be to not only talk to your child about their mental health, but also help identify services for them.
Although there are many different mental health disorders that can affect adolescents and teenagers, the most common are:
- Anxiety disorders – among the most common mental health problems affecting teens and adolescents, anxiety disorders cause significant distress and worry that interferes with everyday life. There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – a brain disorder that typically develops in childhood or early adolescence, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder makes concentrating and staying focused very difficult. Youth with ADHD tend to be more impulsive, and restless.
- Conduct disorder– conduct disorder is a behavioral and emotional disorder that is only diagnosed in children and adolescents/teens. Conduct disorder is marked by extremely aggressive and destructive behavior toward other people, pets or property. Because of this violent and disruptive behavior, many youth with conduct disorder struggle to follow rules, and often avoid places where rules are enforced (i.e. skipping school, running away from home, etc.).
- Depression – is a mood disorder that commonly shows up during teenage years. Depression is more than just experiencing low mood every once in a while – depression is marked by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. There are a few kinds of depression affecting adolescents and teens today:
- Eating disorders – are less common in young children, with the risk increasing with age. Although more common in females, eating disorders can affect teen males as well. Eating disorders are serious and potentially life threatening.
Youth Mental Health Services and Treatment Options
Although mental illness can have a significant impact on their life, there are treatments available to help your child learn to better manage symptoms, regulate emotions, and establish an overall balance in life. Like with many things, the earlier a mental illness is identified and treated, the better the prognosis tends to be. Knowing the options available for youth mental health services is a good first step to getting your child the help they need.
- Psychotherapy – also referred to as individual therapy/counseling, adolescents and teenagers can have a safe space where they can explore painful feelings, thoughts, and events that could be contributing to the issue. Psychotherapy is also a place where new coping skills and tools can be learned.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – an approach to psychotherapy, CBT is often used with teenagers (individually or in a group setting) to help them recognize unhelpful thought patterns and begin to challenge and change those thought patterns.
- Interpersonal therapy – the focus of this therapy is to identify ways to improve upon existing relationships and develop healthier communication patterns within those relationships (at work, school, etc.).
- Medication – for the more severe symptoms, medication can provide some relief, and is often prescribed in conjunction with some form of psychotherapy.
To find out more about youth mental health services provided at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, contact us at (518) 218-1188.