Half of the mental health disorders appear before the age of 14, but the cases are not detected, mostly, until much later.According to data most recent published by the World Health Organization (WHO). A special report of the organism on adolescent health affirmed that the problems of mental health untouched will suppose an enormous load for the generation of more numerous young people of the history.
The report warned that between 10% and 20% of adolescents suffer from ailments that could eventually have an effect on their mental health, such as emotional disorders, anxiety, psychosis and self-harm. Depression is recognized as an extraordinary problem: around 80% of cases begin in adolescence.
"If these disorders are left untreated, they can continue into adult life, and thus influence academic outcomes, employment, relationships and even paternity or maternity," warns Tarun Dua, WHO advises on health mental. WHO has presented recommendations and examples of activities that can help early detection and treatment of these disorders. These include self-guided or group psychological interventions, training for families and school personnel, community mental health programs and initiatives to prevent substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
Tomás Baader, director of the Chilean Alliance Against Depression, states that the passage from childhood to adolescence causes "neurobiological, psychological and neuroadaptive changes" that occur at the same time as important physical and hormonal transformations. He explains that in adolescents systems to regulate emotions are not fully mature, which makes them more vulnerable to external and internal stimuli.
The WHO says that adolescents need safer environments, especially in war zones and in poor countries
"This is accentuated if they have previously experienced negative situations such as sexual abuse, hunger, wars and poverty," says Baader.
The WHO report recommends making adolescent environments safer, especially if they live in areas already stressed by conflict, poverty or crime. This could include talking about mental health issues, teaching teachers how to detect signs of depression, and creating intervention programs for vulnerable young adults.
Chiara Servili, adviser to the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, believes that schools play an important role in all this. But he adds that these interventions "can also be carried out in the community, in health facilities or through digital media."
The last resort, which includes Internet interventions, could be especially appropriate, says WHO, because of the stigma associated with mental health issues, which can prevent some young adults from asking for help. Stigma is part of the reason why mental health services are not well developed in many countries, the report states. However, it is added that mental health interventions for young people should be carefully planned to "ensure that they accept them and that they are useful".
This article was originally published in English on SciDev.net, and is published here as part of the Science Syndication Network.