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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 128-129

Meeting the mental health needs of the adolescents: A global perspective

1 Vice Principal Curriculum, Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Medical Research Unit, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication26-Dec-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, 3rd Floor, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_35_18

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Meeting the mental health needs of the adolescents: A global perspective. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2018;3:128-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Meeting the mental health needs of the adolescents: A global perspective. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Feb 28];3:128-9. Available from: http://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2018/3/2/128/248555

Dear Sir,

On a global scale, adolescents remain an important public health group accounting for almost 16.7% of the global population.[1] In general, adolescence is a period of vulnerability when many changes occur in the lives of an adolescent right from happy times to even periods of stress and anxiety.[1],[2] However, if these periods of stress are not recognized and dealt properly and adequately, it can result in mental illness.[2] The available estimates suggest that almost 50% of the mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 years, but it is quite alarming that most of the cases remain undiagnosed and unmanaged.[1]

The delay in diagnosis or even nondetection of the mental ailments is due to the poor awareness about mental health among health professionals, or because of the prevailing stigma in the general population or even the shortage of human resources/limited infrastructure in developing nations.[3],[4] The epidemiological analysis has highlighted a wide range of factors, which can result in the development of mental illnesses among adolescents, namely, poverty, violence at family level, stigma and discrimination due to any reason, the unsupportive atmosphere in school or family, peer pressure, use of social media and other online technologies, humanitarian emergencies, etc.[2],[3],[4],[5]

The adolescents are prone to the development of emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, eating disorders, psychosis, risk-taking behaviors (such as substance use, and perpetration of violence), and suicides.[1],[3] In fact, suicide has been identified as the third most common cause of death in the late adolescent age-group.[1] At the same time, it is important to understand that if adolescent mental health conditions are not addressed timely, its aftereffects are observed in the later stages of life, with complete impairment of physical as well as mental health.[2],[4]

This takes our attention to the indispensable role of the mental health promotion and prevention activities, which includes psychological interventions, strategies to support the family members by training them, establishing a safe and a secure environment in schools, training of school teachers to detect the early signs of mental illnesses and measures at the level of community to reduce the prevailing stigma.[3],[4],[5] In addition, there is an immense need to have a multi-pronged approach involving different sectors and to have targeted interventions for the vulnerable adolescents (such as those subjected to humanitarian emergencies or victims of physical or sexual abuse or adolescents with substance abuse).[1]

Moreover, there is a great need to deliver comprehensive sex education to ensure that potentially high-risk sexual behaviors are averted.[1],[3] Furthermore, unless there is a better understanding of the existence of the mental illnesses among adolescents, things are not going to improve.[4] It is quite important that the awareness about the mental illnesses should be increased among the general population and investment should be made to improve the delivery of comprehensive and integrated services to maintain the mental health of the young people, including adolescents.[2],[3],[4] Finally, these services have to be supported by early detection and prompt treatment to minimize the development of long-term complications.[1],[3]

In conclusion, there is an immense need to strengthen mental health promotion activities and prevent the onset of mental illnesses through preventive strategies in different settings to improve the mental health of adolescents.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Adolescent Mental Health – Key Facts; 2018. Available from: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health. [Last accessed on 2018 Oct 13].  Back to cited text no. 1
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Improving adolescent health by meeting global standards set by the World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:284-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Mokitimi S, Schneider M, de Vries PJ. Child and adolescent mental health policy in South Africa: History, current policy development and implementation, and policy analysis. Int J Ment Health Syst 2018;12:36.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sakano M, Snowden N. Paving the way for the future of child and adolescent mental health in Japan. London J Prim Care (Abingdon) 2018;10:123-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Nair S, Ganjiwale J, Kharod N, Varma J, Nimbalkar SM. Epidemiological survey of mental health in adolescent school children of Gujarat, India. BMJ Paediatr Open 2017;1:e000139.  Back to cited text no. 5


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