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11-14 Mental Health Wellness Week promotes awareness and wellness in teens

Posted in Mental Health

Mental Health Wellness Week promotes awareness and wellness in teens

The teen population has always been prone to emotional swings, driven by many aspects in the adolescent world since time immemorial. Surging hormones, parental expectations, school stress, and peer pressure to fit in are just a few of the triggers of the normal ups and downs of being a teenager. However, according to the department of Health and Human Services (HHS), approximately one in five teens has a diagnosable mental health disorder, and about one third show symptoms of depression. It is reported that in 2013, one in ten adolescents aged 12 to 17 had experienced a major depressive episode, with 7.7 percent, or 1.9 million teens experiencing major impairment.

Mental Health Wellness Week is being promoted from November 16 to November 22, 2014. This special awareness week was created by Freedom From Fear, a national non-profit mental health advocacy organization. Seeking to create public awareness and help remove the stigma attached to mental health disorders, the group is focusing this particular national campaign on the promotion of mental health wellness.

According to the official website, mental health wellness is described as such:

Mental health is how people think, act and cope with life and the stressors and challenges that are part of the human experience. The state of one’s mental health can influence the ways in which they look at themselves, their life and others around them. It also strongly influences an individual’s potential for achieving their goals and is an important tool in obtaining and maintaining a feeling of well being.

Teenage emotional well-being can be fostered and developed. Resilience is a quality that helps a teen to navigate the emotional bumps in the road. Learning how to cope effectively in the face of difficulties or stress can lead youth into adulthood with a life skill that promotes mental health wellness. A key factor that promotes resilience in adolescents is the presence of healthy, caring relationships with the primary adults in their lives. In addition, the following will also promote mental health wellness:

  • Stress management techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and yoga
  • Mindfulness, focusing on living in the moment, meditation
  • Lifestyle behaviors, such as regular exercise, good nutrition and sleep habits
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Having hobbies and interests
  • Fostering close friendships
  • Developing a spiritual life
  • Communicating feelings and having a support network

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), substance use and mental health issues affect millions of adolescents in the United States. Their message is that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover. But increased awareness is needed, and treatment must be available and sought out in order to make positive changes. The recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported findings from 2013 that illustrate how serious the problem of mental health disorders and substance abuse is:

  • Illicit drug use: There were 2.2 million adolescents, or 8.8 percent, aged 12 to 17 who were current illicit drug users
  • Alcohol use: There were 2.9 million adolescents who were current alcohol users, and of them 1.6 million reported binge drinking in the last month
  • Dependence, or a substance use disorder: An estimated 1.3 million teens had a substance use disorder, or addiction
  • Depression: Over 10 percent of adolescents had a major depressive episode in the last year, with 7.7 percent having severe impairment
  • Co-occurring conditions: 359,000 teens had both a substance use disorder and a major depressive episode

In September of 2014 HHS announced that $99 million would be allocated to help improve health services for young people. These funds will be used to train mental health providers, to help equip teachers, schools and communities in recognizing and responding to mental health issues among youth, and to develop support services for youth who have or are at high risk of acquiring a serious mental health disorder.

Mental health wellness is intrinsic to the future wellbeing of our society. An evidence-based, cognitive-focused approach to improving both mental and overall physical wellness is most effective in treating teens for mental health disorders. Promoting understanding, through public awareness campaigns such as Mental Health Wellness Week, shows how to help teens achieve a sound mind/body connection, and will plant the seeds for change.

Sovereign Health Adolescent Program is located in San Diego, California. Our team can be reached at 866-615-7266.

Written by Eileen Spatz, Sovereign Health Group writer

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