It is a well-known statistic that, at some point in their lives, one in four people will be affected by a mental disorder. And, it is known that mental health disorders frequently begin early in life, with 90% of people who develop a mental disorder showing warning signs during their teen years. For children and adolescents, the estimation is that one in every five has a mental health disorder, with about 11% of youth between the ages of 9 and 17 having a major mental health disorder.
Though mental disorders certainly do not imply a person will die by suicide, studies have shown that of those who do, more than 90% have one or more diagnosable mental disorder. In fact, for teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. And in a typical high school classroom – one boy and two girls have attempted suicide in the past year.
There is hope. Research has shown that early recognition, intervention, and treatment of mental disorders make a positive difference in a teen’s life – potentially preventing a suicide attempt, or a death by suicide.
But how do you know whether a teen is experiencing the typical teenage “growing pains” or a real mental health problem?
While adolescence is a difficult time for many students, there is a real difference between “typical” and “troubled”. Mental health problems in students are real, may be painful, and, if left untreated can have serious, life changing consequences.