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Young people and their mental health

Tips for spotting mental health early warning signs in young people

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We tend to think about mental health issues as being something that impacts people later on in their life, when they face stress from raising a family, working and trying to manage money. However, this isn’t the case. In fact, mental health issues can be an issue no matter your age.

Young people can struggle with their mental health just as much as older people can and these can sometimes to be harder to treat or to identify. This is generally down to the amount of processing space their brains have, while still developing.

Young people typically have a lot to deal with while at school, then college and University. It’s important to recognise that at a young age, our brains are naturally limited in terms of emotional processing’, says Mylo Kaye, an experienced mental health advisor.

Whether you are a parent yourself or you know a young person who seems to be struggling with their own mental health, here are some of the key things that you should know about young people and their mental health. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

What are the most common mental health problems that young people experience?

Young people can have all the same mental health issues as adults, however, they can often be presented in a different way. The most common mental health issues that you may find in a young person are depression and anxiety. However, there is also a chance that they may develop problems such as eating disorders and show signs of self-harm. 

What are the warning signs?

One of the main questions that adults have about young people, and their mental health is how they can pick up that there is a problem in the first place. The trouble is that it can be really hard to pick up on any mental health problems in a younger person, even if you are their parent and you know them well. 

This is also even harder to pinpoint as hormones, friendship problems and issues with school can all have an impact on their mood. However, some of the warning signs you should be looking out for include:

  • A change in personality
  • Anger 
  • Being withdrawn 
  • Refusing to talk
  • Stopping going out or spending most of their time out of the house

What can I do?

Another common question that is asked when it comes to mental health in young people is what can I do to help them? Just like with adults, it can be hard to know what is best to help a young person in your life with their mental health. However, the most important thing that you need to do as an adult, is give them a safe space to talk about how they feel. Encourage them to share at their own pace and don’t put any pressure on them to talk. 

You should also encourage them to perhaps think about speaking to a professional about the way that they are feeling and get treatment as soon as possible as this can make all the difference to the way that they feel. 

If you are a young person, or you have a young person in your life who you think needs some mental health support, then why not get in touch with your local counselling team if at university or college, or speak to a family or friend to open up the conversation.

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