Mental Health Conditions Affecting Adolescents

Fact of the Month:

Most adolescents experience positive mental health, but one in five has a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Mental Health Conditions Affecting Adolescents

In the United States mental disorders are common among children and can be difficult for both the children and parents to cope with. Mental disorders include Anxiety, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity, Autism, Eating, Mood, Personality, and Schizophrenia. Research has shown that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.

Studies completed by the National Institute of Mental Health have found that there is often delay between onset of a mental illness and initiation of treatment.

Coping with Mental Illness as a Family

Adolescents are not the only group within our district that may be experiencing a mental disorder and it is important for both children and adults to seek help.

Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events. As with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. Mental illnesses may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these. With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder.

  1. Acknowledge that you have a family member with a mental illness and seek help
    from a mental health professional.
  2. Learn skills to help manage your stress.
  3. Develop new ways of relating to others.
  4. Explore other resources.

Warning Signs – Signs of Crisis

Call 9-1-1, or seek immediate help when you hear or see any one of these behaviors:

  • Someone threatening to hurt or kill
  • Someone looking for ways to kill
    themselves: seeking access to pills,
    weapons, or other means.
  • Someone talking or writing about
    suicide, or about death and dying
    when this is out of the ordinary for

Signs of Concern

If someone you care about is showing any or a combination of the following behaviors, have them call the San Diego Crisis Hotline at (800)479-3339. You could be saving their life!

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky
    activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped- like there’s no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family or society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep, or
    sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in
  • Someone close to them has dies by suicide
    in the past
  • The person has attempted to kill
    themselves in the past

Helpful Resources: