Adolescent mental health

Adolescence, spanning from the ages of 10 to 19, is a formative developmental period in life, full of rapid change. During this time, our identities evolve, and we understand more about our likes and dislikes. Our bodies change, we become more socially aware and sensitive, and there’s also a school transition to adjust to. All the while, we are learning, making mistakes and having new experiences.

The social, emotional and physical changes occurring mean that this unique period is rarely stress-free. These changes can leave some adolescents more vulnerable to mental health challenges. It's particularly important to pay attention to mental health during adolescence, as experiences here can affect our wellbeing through to adulthood.

Normal adolescent ups and downs can be difficult to distinguish from more serious mental health challenges. When in doubt, it’s best to seek professional help, as this is an important time to learn skills for wellbeing and resilience. This places us in good stead for a happy and fulfilling future.

Types of adolescent mental health issues

Some types of mental health issues most commonly experienced during adolescence include:

Prevalence of mental health issues in adolescents

According to the World Health Organization, around half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14, and 10-20% of adolescents experience mental health challenges.

However, most of these are not detected at the time and go untreated. This can adversely affect the longer-term resilience and mental health of these individuals as they progress through adulthood. It’s therefore important to be alert to early symptoms of mental health challenges.

Common symptoms of mental health issues in adolescence

Adolescents can find it hard to articulate or communicate emotional and psychological difficulties. Some symptoms to look out for include:

Adolescence is a critical time for mental health conditions characterized by psychosis, as this is often when symptoms begin. Symptoms include:

Treatments options for adolescents

Adolescents struggling with mental health challenges have many treatment options available, such as:

Therapy for adolescents

The best-fitting type of therapy depends on the particular challenges you are experiencing. There is a range of therapeutic approaches available that can be tailored to help young people experiencing a wide range of mental health challenges, including:

Or, you might want to explore therapy types well matched to more specific situations. For example:

It’s important to consider different therapy types and how they resonate with you before choosing. If you’re not sure, your prospective therapist is a great person to talk it over with and help with the decision-making.

What to look for in a therapist for adolescents

Factors to take into account when choosing a therapist for adolescents include:

Find therapists specializing in adolescent mental health

Find therapists who specialize in adolescent mental health on Zencare. Search by insurance, fees, and location; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you!