Hey yo Naija Teenagers, it is another time again on our diary and we will be concluding our discussion on Mental Health. If you missed the first session, there is nothing to worry about, just catch up here. Today, we will be looking at the Mental Health issues teenagers face, how to tackle them and how to build and maintain a positive mental health. Before we go on, we need to remind ourselves that MH (you know what that is, rye?) is very important in our day to day thinking, acting and living and at such, must be very well okay, else, misbehaving is not far from us.
90% of the time (my statistic), people react to things that come to them and so, when things come, we need to be in better places ourselves so as to be in control of our actions and not the other way round. That being said, let’s identify some issues teenagers face. So sorry, this may be a very lengthy post, but I’m sure you will love it, simply because most of these things, will so resonate in your mind, chest or head, as the case may be. So yeah, some issues teenagers face are:
1. Generalized anxiety: Do you worry excessively about everyday matters, feel restless, becoming fatigued easily, struggle with concentration, experience irritability, feel muscle tension,or do you have difficulty keeping worry levels under control and struggling with sleep? Then you may be having a general anxiety. The feels you have when going for an external exam or facing a crowd is anxiety and comes only when you are to do the activity or at the though of the activity but general anxiety most times become part and parcel of you.
2. Depression: This is one of the most common things around now, and it is characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and/or emptiness. Symptoms loss of interest or pleasure in other activities, not functioning normally, having trouble with things like sleep, energy, or concentration, hopelessness or pessimism, lack of energy.
3. Eating disorders: Eating disorders commonly emerge during adolescence and young adulthood, and affect females more commonly than males. It is characterised by harmful eating behaviours, like an overweight eating too much calories out of sadness of being so fat. It is generally detrimental to health and often co-exist with depression, anxiety and /or substance misuse.
4. Social phobias: This is another common issue, where a teenager begins to fear socialising and meeting people, and have severe feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity in social settings. Feeling very anxious at the thought of being around others, and struggling to talk to other people, experiencing extreme self-consciousness and fear of humiliation, embarrassment, rejection, or offending people, worrying about being judged, feeling anxious days or even weeks ahead of a social event, avoiding places where other people will be, struggling to make and keep friends, blushing, sweating, or trembling around others are some of the characteristics of social phobia.
5. Drug Abuse: many times, teenagers use of certain chemicals for the purpose of creating pleasurable effects on the brain, either to ease them off some pains, hurts or thoughts, or just to harm themselves. Overusing prescribed medications and other substances too come in here.
6. Emotional Disorders: In addition to depression or anxiety, adolescents with emotional disorders can also experience excessive irritability, frustration or anger, unexpected changes in mood and emotional outbursts. Younger adolescents may additionally develop emotion-related physical symptoms such as stomach ache, headache or nausea.
7. Risk taking Behaviours: When you see some teenagers take risks that are way higher and more disastrous and do not care, well, they may just be having this issue. Doesn’t mean every teenager taking risk is having this but when the risks are over-dangerous and so glaring, then, something may be wrong somewhere.
8. Psychosis: This is simply hallucinations or delusions – seeing or hearing people that are not there, and many more. These experiences can impair a teenager’s ability to participate in daily life and education and often lead to stigma.
9. Suicide/Self Harm: Suicide is the third leading cause of death in older adolescents (15-19 years). According to WHO, nearly 90% of the world’s adolescents live in low-or middle-income countries and more than 90% of adolescent suicides are among adolescents living in those countries. Risk factors for suicide are multifaceted, it can include harmful use of alcohol, abuse in childhood, stigma against help-seeking, barriers to accessing care and access to means. Communication through digital media about suicidal behaviour is an emerging concern for teenagers.