YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH
Importance of Youth Mental Health
Young people’s good mental health is as important as their good physical health if they are to develop into independent and confident adults. Good mental health is an essential part of healthy adolescent development; it helps young people build positive social, emotional, thinking and communication skills and behaviors. It also lays the foundation for better mental health and wellbeing later in life.
Why Is This a Big Deal?
Poor mental health in adolescence is more than feeling blue. It can impact many areas of a teen’s life. Youth with poor mental health may struggle with school and grades, decision making, and their health.
Mental health problems in youth often go hand-in-hand with other health and behavioral risks like increased risk of drug use, experiencing violence, and higher risk sexual behaviors that can lead to HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy.
Because many health behaviors and habits are established in adolescence that will carry over into adult years, it is very important to help youth develop good mental health.
The good news is that teens are resilient, and we know what works to support their mental health: feeling connected to school and family.
Fortunately, the same prevention strategies that promote mental health—like helping students feel connected to school/family—help prevent a range of negative experiences, like drug use and violence.
Building strong bonds and relationships with adults and friends at school, at home and in the community provides youth with a sense of connectedness.
This feeling of connectedness is important and can protect adolescents from poor mental health, and other risks like drug use and violence.
Youth need to know someone cares about them. Connections can be made virtually or in person.