The majority of General Practitioners in England think mental health services for young people are inadequate. Doctors in the United States are now recognizing this problem as well. Indeed, throughout the world, adolescents and teens are experiencing mental disorders at record rates and waiting longer for treatment. The problem has reached a state of crisis while the untreated often, due to lack of reasonably quick help, inflict harm on themselves and others. For example, one study in England showed that girls between the ages of 10 and 14 had injured themselves over 93 percent more times in 2014 than they did in 2010. Other studies have revealed that over 60 percent of teenagers have turned to the internet to research topics such as depression and that over 20% of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder. 1
Social media plays a significant role in youthful mental health challenges and disorders to be sure. The never-ending quest for the young to measure, gauge and assimilate into the cool and fashionable milieu, although not an original goal, has become an immediate one. The rule of “likes” can set pecking orders in schoolroom halls and send some into despair. Teens are less likely to seek help from school personnel or their parents because of the stigma attached to emotional issues and the sheer awkwardness of the subject. However, the biggest problem is funding: Governments do not allocate adequate money for the detection and rapid treatment of adolescent and teen mental health disorders, and young people are not vocal advocates for themselves. Parents must be vigilant and forceful where mental health and youth are concerned. The waiting periods are way too long.
1 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty: Approximately 20% of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder. ♦ Many mental health disorders first present during adolescence. – Between 20% and 30% of adolescents have one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood. – For a quarter of individuals with mood disorders like depression, these first emerge during adolescence. – Between 50% and 75% of adolescents with anxiety disorders and impulse control disorders (such as conduct disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) develop these during adolescence.