Importance of Providing Youth with Mental Health Resources
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Approximately one in five teens in the United States struggle with some sort of mental health issue that is severe enough to affect their day-to-day activities. Despite the many adolescents that struggle with mental health problems, many people don't fully recognize how prevalent of an issue it truly is in today's society. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry even states, "The prevalence of severe emotional and behavior disorders is even higher than the most frequent major physical conditions in adolescence, including asthma or diabetes, which have received widespread health attention." A person's mental health is equally as important as their physical well-being. The mind is a powerful tool, and it exerts more influence over an individual than many people know. If your mind is not in good health, it will be extremely difficult for the rest of your body to stay healthy as well. Unfortunately, many teenagers grappling with a mental health issue in addition to the struggles of adolescence often do not have access to a resource such as a counselor, psychiatrist, or therapist to help them cope. It has been estimated in recent years that 1.5 million teenagers are not receiving adequate mental health help. Although this can be due to a variety of reasons depending on the individual, the most common reasons can be attributed to a cost/insurance deficit, structural barriers, perceived discrimination, and a low-perceived need. The fact that adolescents in all sorts of different places cannot receive the mental healthcare assistance they need is extremely heartbreaking. Without adequate treatment, a mental health issue of any degree can negatively affect virtually all aspects of a person's life. No one should ever have to be held back from receiving help for something that they cannot control.
Now, a central question remains: what can we do to help ensure that youth and others struggling with mental issues receive the help that they deserve? Although it may sound out of reach right now, I believe the answer starts with equal healthcare opportunities being granted to all when it comes to therapy visits, psychology/ psychiatry appointments, etc. Someone's financial background or social status should never be a determining factor in whether or whether not they receive mental assistance. As an individual, check up on your friends and loved ones frequently. Be someone that they can come to when they are struggling or in need of support/ encouragement. If you are someone struggling with mental health issues and cannot receive help, just know that you are not alone. We stand behind you and hear your voice; you are extremely valued. Prioritize self care and be kind to yourself. Don't expect too much of yourself. Don't be afraid to reach out to the people around you if you are struggling. Every person going through the struggles of dealing with a mental health problem has a unique story that should be heard. We must not let society silence them anymore.
Resources for someone struggling with mental health: