Teenage Mental Health Issues

Jasiel Baker, 10th Grader at BCECHS

How many of you suffer from some sort of mental illness? Whether that is anxiety, depression, ADHD, or something else entirely. I, myself, have had multiple different experiences with poor mental health and struggle to deal with these problems. So, in this speech, I wish to speak of the poor mental health of teenagers in America by going over what mental illnesses are, the issues that may cause these feelings, and suggest going to therapy so as to deal with these mental obstacles. Teenage mental health is declining and can start to heal by getting therapy and receiving care or information on other ways to combat the dilemma.


First of all, what are mental illnesses? Mental illnesses are health conditions that are represented by alterations in emotion, thinking and/or behavior. Mental illnesses can stem from many different things, such as grief, heartbreak, anguish, abandonment, etc.  Now you may be thinking, “Why are these issues so important?” Well, these poor mental health conditions are usually associated with problems functioning in society and as such take many different forms. These cages placed upon us by our psyche usually stem from adverse childhood environments, genetic issues, trauma, or other factors. According to the book Journal of Adolescent Health Article 265, teenagers, specifically alternative teens, that have had an adverse childhood environment report that these experiences contribute to their own poor mental health and are one of the causes of their atrocious coping mechanisms. 


The Journal of Adolescent Health states, “After investigation for maltreatment, 42.7% of teens reported at least one MH problem…. Nine percent reported depression, 13.9% reported suicidality, 23% had substance use/abuse, 13.5% reported anxiety, and 18.6% had ADHD.” This information demonstrates the results of research that was conducted about the mental health of teenagers who were investigated by Child Welfare Agencies by showing the effects of growing up in adverse childhood environments and the detrimental issues caused by how these teens were raised. The percentages allow people to see the toll taken on teens through numbers and statistical data for more obvious representation of how the situations these teens are placed in affect their mental state. 


This brings us to explore healthy methods to combat these issues within the teenage mental state. Speaking with others is basically the end of the world. But some suggestions that could be made for the benefit of our mentality do include seeking a therapist or talking to peers with the same issues. Personally, I have started seeking help with my own problems and have seen some positive effects from talking about what I’m feeling. According to Trials Volume 10, “teenagers rarely seek professional help for their emotional problems…The Internet, however, offers the possibility to access this large group of untreated adolescents for adequate care.” Seeking help can allow you to gain a better understanding of your mentality and recognize negative feelings and ideas so that you can make positive changes, take greater control of your life and improve your confidence.


In conclusion, after suffering through these problems for any amount of time, I would suggest considering another route because no one can do this all alone. As I have previously stated, the mental health of American teens today is in a state of decline. So, I ask you to take that next step for your health and seek out a therapist or someone you trust to talk to make your life better.