By: Ribhav Gupta
During the pandemic, mental health has significantly become a major concern for many youths across the world. As the world continues to adapt in new alternative methods to a new normal, teens are facing the pressure as the situation with these adaptations alongside their personal life has become a serious tassel that can be hard to handle for many. Such adaptations can include a progression into a completely new learning model in many schools across Ontario. By diminishing the old semester model into a quadmester and community-based learning model, learning has become a serious struggle when it comes to managing time. Undoubtedly, students’ mental health is deteriorating as these drastic changes in the education system result in students completing courses at an incredibly fast pace that is nearly half the length of a normal semester-based model. Not to mention, the models’ unsuitability for long-term learning and development of youths. This burden results in teens creating competition amongst their fellow peers and the sacrifice of their personal well-being for their success in school.
One of the leading causes of high suicide rates amongst adolescents is the inability to seek mental support. Many children do not feel comfortable conveying their thoughts to parents or guardians due to fear of unacceptance, causing emotional distress to pile up and clouding their minds to think critically. According to WHO, depression is the fourth leading cause of illness and disability among adolescents aged 15-19 years and fifteenth for those aged 10-14 years. Anxiety is the ninth leading cause for adolescents aged 15-19 years and sixth for those aged 10-14 years. These factors are known to cause emotional disorders, which are noticeable in changing behaviours of youths to being more irritated, frustrated, disappointed, and likely to have emotional outbursts. Can lead to depression, ultimately suicide due to self-isolation
A healthy mind means a healthy gut; bad mental health can transfer to a person’s physical health, increasing the chances of stress-induced disorders/diseases. This can lead to some individuals expressing their emotions over other students through various forms of bullying, creating a chain effect to occur amongst teens in declining mental health.
Although very commonly heard, anxiety is not commonly addressed and treated among youths. Lack of proper education towards managing personal matters in a controlled manner leads to individuals doubting their abilities and limiting their capabilities and potential to learn and succeed in life. Loss of self-confidence makes individuals take fewer risks to expand their social network, join clubs, limit their opportunities by setting lower standards for themselves, etc.
This leads to eating disorders, where there can be signs of obesity at early ages. Youths may start to compare themselves to their peers in a school or work environment and feel they are not intelligent to the point where self-harm may be present. An estimated 62 000 adolescents died in 2016 as a result of self-harm. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in older adolescents (15-19 years).
Ways to Prevent Mental Illness Amongst Youths:
social media make mainstream society feel supportive of mental health
When someone confronts you about their mental health, make sure they feel welcome to share their thoughts and understand their perspective. This prevents youths from “bottling up” their thoughts and feelings.
DON’T SET EXPECTATION
There is already a lot of pressure youths have to handle, whether social stigma, academics, sports, or relationships with family and friends. Less pressure means these individuals would not lose confidence and feel they are always below the standards. Make them feel capable and talented in their own unique way by highlighting their strengths, not their weaknesses!
Tips for Parents/Guardians
DO NOT COMPARE YOUR CHILD TO OTHERS
try changing your daily routine to bring an insightful and positive change to your life for a new beginning. Try to imagine yourself in the future already accomplishing the things you planned to achieve. What you believe is what you achieve!
When eating, talking, or thinking, always keep the mindset of positive thoughts. If you put out bad thoughts, you will just surround yourself with this radiating negative energy. This is similar to when consuming food, don’t think negatively as this energy will radiate to your food which you ultimately consume in your body.
8 minute read