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World Mental Wellness Day for Teens: March 2, 2022

Parents need to engage with their teens and reach out for help if they notice their child is suffering from mental health concerns.

Every year on March 2, the world observes World Teen Mental Wellness Day. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the mental health challenges that many youngsters face. Today is about making an attempt to learn more about teen mental health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a condition of wellbeing in which an individual recognises his or her own potential, can cope with the usual demands of life, can work successfully and fruitfully, and can contribute to his or her community.”

Unfortunately, mental health issues are frequent throughout adolescence, accounting for 16% of disease and injury in those aged 10 to 19. Mental health problems begin around the age of 14 and frequently go undetected and untreated. Suicide and depression are two of the biggest causes of death among teenagers, and they can lead to other issues such as substance abuse later in life.

Why does World Teen Mental Wellness Day matter?

While we have come a long way in terms of spreading the word about mental health, there is still much work to be done. Many mental health concerns in teens go undetected and untreated due to a lack of understanding about the subject. To secure a brighter future for all children, parents and caregivers, as well as teens themselves, must be educated around the importance of good mental health.

People with mental health disorders have long been stigmatised in our society. There are numerous negative connotations linked with mental diseases and individuals who suffer from them. These are unfounded and based on falsehoods, and they make people, especially teens,  less reluctant to seek treatment.

We must eliminate this stigma, and raising awareness is an important first step. For people who are hurting, especially those who are suffering silently, it may appear that no one understands and that they are fighting this battle alone. This day serves as a reminder to kids that they are not alone, that it is okay to feel the way they do, and that there is plenty of support available.

Mental health facts parents should be aware of

  1. One in five teens has dealt with some form of mental illness at some point in their lives.
  2. One in ten young adults has experienced serious depression.
  3. Thousands of teens worldwide commit suicide each year due to undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. Suicide is the 2ndleading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds globally. In South Africa, 9% of all teenage deaths are due to suicide and the numbers are increasing.
  4. Teens are less inclined to seek help because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
  5. Addressing risk factors such as trauma early on can aid in the prevention of mental diseases.

How to help your teen

When left untreated, mental health issues can be highly destructive, so don’t wait and hope those troubling symptoms will go away. If you feel your adolescent is depressed, express your concerns with them in a compassionate, non-judgmental manner.

Speak to your healthcare provider who can assist with helping your teen get better, or reach out to Suicide Crisis Line at 0800 567 567, or SADAG Mental Health Line at (011) 234-4837.  

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