Mental Health Issues Affecting Young People Today

There has been a lot going on in our world. Sometimes, the news can be overwhelming, especially if we have access to news from all over the world at our fingertips through our phones. Valerie shares her research and own opinion on what this means for young people.

By Blue Future Youth Contributor, Valerie Gregorio

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Many young people have phones where they can access all of the information they want in a given moment. However, with everything going on in the world today like climate disasters and gun violence, for example, it has been taking a toll on young people’s mental health. Young people’s mental health has worsened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emotional disorders are the most common mental health issues affecting young people today. For example, millions of young people experience emotional disorders including depression and anxiety, which are the most common.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the fourth leading cause of illness and anxiety is the ninth for young people ages 15–19.

Emotional disorders can take a toll on students and young adults in the workforce. It can affect how they perform at school or work and can also affect their relationships with family and friends.

Self-harm is another mental health issue among young people. A young person’s risk of engaging in self-harm is increased by the use of alcohol, the experience of chronic sadness, physical abuse, dysfunction in relationships with family and friends, and limited access to emotional support. This not only affects them greatly but also affects their family and friends around them.

While not all self-harm leads to suicide, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15–24 years old according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

According to the World Health Organization, childhood behavior disorders are the eleventh cause of disease for young adults ages 15 to 19. Childhood behavior disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder.

Without the proper support and treatment for childhood behavior disorders, these disorders affect how young people perform in school, how they make friends, and how they function in the workforce.

Eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating are common as young people go through puberty, and as they age well into adulthood. These eating disorders can affect young people’s health and diet as they get older and can lead to depression and anxiety.

These mental health issues have been prevalent for young people for decades.

Thanks to the internet and the rise of social media, many young people are talking about mental health issues now more than ever. Conversations regarding mental health have increased among young people over the past decade, rather they talk about it online or in real life. Young people nowadays have more access to information regarding what’s going on in the world today. This can affect how well they could take in the information and talk to their peers about it.

Sometimes, when a young person sees bad news all of the time, it can overwhelm their thought process and cause them to feel either frustrated or depressed.

As we enter into the 2020s decade, it’s important that everyone, especially young people, get the emotional support they need. Many organizations, health care providers, and schools would need to emphasize how important it is to take care of your mental health and provide the necessary resources needed for those who are struggling.

When Joe Biden became president, he wanted to make mental health a priority for America. His administration will make sure that everyone’s mental health needs are met, especially for young people.

President Biden wants to address mental health issues that affect many young people in America today. In the passed American Rescue Plan, he included increased investments in mental health care professionals. Not only that, mental health and addiction treatment are being further integrated into school, homes, and primary settings through the 21st Century Cures Act.

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law back in 2016 and the purpose of this was to fund more research in order to improve mental health services, cure and prevent serious illnesses, and development of medical devices. President Biden wants this law to be enforced more as he wants his administration to make mental health a priority for many young people.

Biden wants his administration to focus on meeting the needs of everyone regarding their mental health and expand on that. Under the American Rescue Plan, mental health for millions of Americans will be further supported with:

  • $1 billion funding to increase the number of mental health professionals in schools.
  • $3 billion in mental health care block grants and substance use for treatment, intervention, prevention, and recovery services.
  • $420 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics that would expand behavioral health services access.

President Biden admitted that his administration is committed to ensuring that everyone would get the mental health support they need. Not only that, as of this year 2021, he proclaimed that the month of May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. The purpose of this is so that many organizations, health care providers, and citizens will raise awareness on how important it is to take care of themselves and their mental health.

However, raising mental health awareness should not be just for one month. Organizations, health care providers, and citizens should be raising awareness on mental health year around for everyone. National Mental Health Awareness Month is the start as well as a reminder and highlight on why it’s important to take care of your mental health.

The Biden Administration addressing mental health and incorporating the needs of it into the Build Back Better plan is one step forward to a better future for young people. With the mental health issues many young people in America face today, the country as a whole needs to continue to make progress on addressing mental health needs. This does not only apply to young people and their parents, but also to future generations.

Young people would need to ensure that everyone keeps the conversations going surrounding mental health. Mental health issues should not be put aside. We have to continue to make our voices heard so no one suffers at all.

The conversations around mental health, services, treatment, and the legislative actions should not stop here. Moving forward, every young person in America should receive the mental health support they need in order to ensure a better future for all.

About Valerie: Valerie Gregorio (she/her/hers) is a recent MBA graduate from the University of Maryland, Global Campus from California, Maryland and has a bachelors degree in Public Policy and minors in Political Science, Sociology, and Dance from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Valerie currently works full time and experience writing for several online publications. She has been involved with a youth nonprofit, Not My Generation, which focuses on preventing gun violence and is a member of The Conversationalist community. During her spare time, Valerie loves to dance, watch the news, listen to music, and hang out with friends.