Mental health is invaluable to our day to day happiness and vitality. Unfortunately, many people and many teens suffer from mental health disorders. In fact, the rates of depression in youth rose from 8.5% in 2011 to 11.1% in 2014. Mental Health America (MHA) reports that they believe 80% of teens even those with severe depression go untreated.

Awareness of mental health issues is important because it can help to eliminate stigmas and misunderstandings about these issues.

What is mental illness?

MHA defines mental illness as “a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.”

There are over 200 classified forms of mental illness including the following:

  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • dementia
  • schizophrenia
  • anxiety disorders

Awareness of mental health issues and their signs and symptoms can help with earlier detection and treatment of the disorders. A mental illness is a medical condition that is usually physical as well as psychological and emotion. These mental health problems can be caused by a variety of factors including:

  • Environmental Stresses
  • Genetic Factors
  • Biochemical Imbalances

Signs and Symptoms to Watch for

If you are concerned about a loved one, watch for sudden shifts in their behaviors or thought patterns. If you see multiple symptoms from the list below, it is very possible there is an issue that needs to be addressed. It is important to note that the onset of the symptoms listed below should not be due to substance abuse or medical condition.

In young adults and adolescents, watch for the following:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Growing inability to deal with daily activities and problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Confused thinking
  • Feeling of extreme highs or lows
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Excessive worrying, anxiety, or fears
  • Prolong depression, sadness or irritability
  • Delusions
  • Dramatic and prolonged changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Substance use and abuse

If you are concerned about a loved one, there will be worries, fears, and a host of other emotions you will experience. You are not alone; most families must process through similar feelings. The variety of things you are feeling are normal and common. One of the best things you can do is not blame yourself, accept what you are feeling and seek out help for your loved one.

At Juneau Youth Services, we are here to help you and your loved one who might be struggling with mental health illnesses. Our trained staff are here for you to talk with and answer questions. Please give us a call at 907-789-4733.