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Mental Health

Rate of Mental Health Troubles Exceeds 10% in Youth

— February 28, 2024

New data reveals how critical it is to intervene early on when it comes to children’s mental health.

When we think of young people, it’s nice to imagine that they are feeling good, enjoying the start of their lives, and not worried about much of anything. They should still have a level of innocence that shields them from the mental health troubles experienced by the rest of society, right? Unfortunately, the data tells a different story in terms of how young people today are experiencing the world. The statistics are troubling and clearly indicate that something needs to be done sooner rather than later to protect the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.

In the simplest possible terms, young people have not been spared from the recent mental health crisis that has swept over much of the globe. The causes of this crisis are debatable and hard to pin down specifically, but the end result is undeniable – countless people are facing mental health challenges, including some of the youngest among us.

The 2019 Global Burden of Disease study was used to evaluate the rate at which mental health disorders cause problems for young people. In this application, the window of ages used was from 5 to 24. It was found that roughly 1 out of every 10 people in that age category was facing a mental disorder. When the math is done based on the global population, that puts the affected total of individuals at close to 300 million.

Rate of Mental Health Troubles Exceeds 10% in Youth
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What’s concerning is that mental health problems are making up roughly 20% of all disease-related disability in this age bracket. That’s a huge portion of the disease that young people face and is likely a higher number than most people would guess. Sadly, mental disorders are commonly associated with many different negative outcomes, including suicide, homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and on and on. It’s a difficult situation to get out of for a young person, especially if they lack the support and resources needed to get professional help.

While this report does a good job of highlighting the situation – and it likely undersells the reality of the situation, since the data as gathered before the pandemic – there is more research needed to better understand the problem. Specifically, it would be helpful to divide up the group into tighter age groups to see more clearly regarding which young people are being affected and when. Also, the role that certain parts of life, like social media, play in the deterioration of mental health in young people needs more examination.

Whether the aftermath of the pandemic is continuing to play a notable role, or if many other factors are at play, young people need help. Making sufficient resources available to those who need them should be a top priority, along with continuing to take away the stigma that often exists around mental health issues. Caring for the youngest people in society has always been an important task, but that care was previously focused mostly on physical health. It’s now clear that mental health needs to be included, and hopefully an increased focus in this area will lead to better outcomes.


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