According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five teenagers has a mental health condition. Mental health conditions are challenging for adults to manage, and the problem is often compounded in teens. March 2, 2022, marks the third-annual World Teen Mental Wellness Day. This day highlights the issues impacting teenagers and encourages friends and family members to offer support and understanding for their loved ones’ challenges. World Teen Mental Wellness Day also aims to normalize conversations and dismantle stigmas around teen mental health issues.
Hollister Co., a division of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., created World Teen Mental Wellness Day in 2020 to increase awareness about mental health issues among teens and to work towards removing stigmas surrounding preventative mental health. Hollister Co. pledges its support for preventative mental health and self-care for teens worldwide with this day. Teens are encouraged to use March 2 as a day to participate in self-care and quiet their self-doubt. In conjunction with World Teen Mental Wellness Day, Hollister also created the Hollister Confidence Project, described as “a year-round initiative dedicated to promoting confidence and wellness among teens across the globe.”
The Importance of Mental Health in Teens
Half of all mental health issues start by the time a child reaches the age of 14, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Sadly, most mental health conditions go undiagnosed and untreated during childhood and adolescence. Failing to address adolescent mental health conditions has consequences that extend into adulthood. These consequences often impair both physical and psychological health and limits opportunities that lead to living life to the fullest as adults.
Mental health issues in teens can lead to problems in adulthood, such as:
- Addiction: 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders
- Homelessness: Approximately 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness
- Incarceration: About 24 percent of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition”
Common Mental Health Conditions in Teens
Teens across the globe face various mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, which can lead to excessive irritability, frustration, mood changes, anger, and emotional outbursts. Eating disorders related to mental health include
Mental health issues can also include eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Other mental health conditions include risking-taking behaviors like substance abuse, sexual risk-taking, psychosis-like hallucinations, and delusions.
Suicide is the most serious of all mental health issues and is the third leading cause of death for those between the age of 15 and 19. All of these conditions illustrate the need to raise awareness about teen mental health.
Adult Mental Well-Being Begins During Adolescence
Social and emotional habits that are essential to adult mental well-being are developed during the teen years. Ideally, these habits should include:
- Healthy sleep patterns
- Exercising regularly
- Developing coping, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills
- Learning to manage emotions
Family, school, and the wider community should provide protective and supportive environments for these habits to develop. Yet, they often fail to live up to this expectation.
Mental Health Issues: Risk Factors in Adolescents
As with adults, multiple risk factors affect mental health issues in teens. The more factors a teen is exposed to, the greater the chances of having mental health issues. Factors that may contribute to mental health during adolescence include:
- Exposure to adversity
- Pressure to conform with peers
- Exploration of identity
Frequently, gender norms and media influence exacerbate the disparity between an adolescent’s lived reality and their perceptions or aspirations for the future. Other critical risk factors include:
- The quality of home life
- Relationships with peers
- Violence (particularly sexual violence and bullying)
- Harsh parenting
- Severe socio-economic problems
Some teens are at greater risk of mental health conditions because of their living conditions, societal stigma, discrimination or exclusion, or lack of access to quality mental health services and support. Examples of this include adolescents:
- Living in humanitarian and fragile settings
- With chronic illness
- With autism spectrum disorder
- With an intellectual disability or other neurological conditions
- Who are pregnant or already have children
- In early or forced marriages
- Who are orphans
- From minority ethnic or sexual backgrounds or other discriminated groups
How You Can Raise Awareness About World Teen Mental Wellness Day
Simply knowing that March 2 is World Teen Wellness Day isn’t enough; it’s essential to raise awareness. There are several ways you can raise awareness on this day and every day about the mental health issues teens face in America and around the world. Consider doing one or more of the following:
- Share your story on Instagram and Twitter with #WorldTeenMentalWellnessDay
- Share positive messages of hope and encouragement in person and on social media with #WorldTeenMentalWellnessDay
- Attend a local event
- Practice self-care
- Focus on ways to decrease your self-doubt
- Share your concerns with a friend who may be facing mental health issues
- Reach out to someone you trust if you or a friend have mental health concerns (if it’s an emergency, call 911 and get an authority figure right away)
- Offer support— you can’t force someone to get help; instead, do your best to be there with your friend through their journey
If you or someone you know is currently experiencing mental health challenges you can always reach out to us for help.
If you want to join us in our mission you can help by donating to Project Immersion or other ways here.