Letters

Mental health

 

Mental health is one of the most trending topics right now, and teenagers may not always express how they feel. Their concerns must be addressed and given consideration. Awareness about the mental health of teenagers, specifically during the pandemic needs to be highlighted.

The pandemic that began in the early months of 2020 has resulted in people of all age groups feeling isolated, and left many struggling to cope with daily routines and finding some sense of normalcy in their lives. Teenagers, who are in the stage of transition into adulthood are more prone to mental, emotional, hormonal and physical changes. Brittany LeMonda, PhD, senior neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, has observed that teenagers are more susceptible to a decline in psychological health over the past year-and-a-half. The American Academy of Paediatrics has reported that the loss of parents due to COVID-19, financial instability, lack of social support from peers or family and disrupted medical services have impacted mental health among other factors. The fear of missing out and decreased physical meetings have led to teenagers spending more time on social media, which in turn has led to an increase in their stress levels. Although many have participated in surveys related to mental health and vocalised their experiences, some are still scared to come forward.

A survey taken by the parents of teenagers yielded the following results: out of the 997 teenagers between the ages of 13 to 18, it was noted that one in three girls and one in five boys were experiencing anxiety. According to a UNICEF report by over 8,440 participants, 27% reported anxiety and 15% reported to experiencing depression in a week. One out of two teenagers was feeling less motivated to perform tasks and only one out of three was able to ask for help when needed. Despite community support groups, media pages, blogs, advocacy groups and numerous posts on mental health, it has been commonly perceived that teenagers tend to deny or repress their feelings.

It is essential to identify the symptoms at an early stage, provide intervention in terms of counselling, therapy or medication. All those confronting negative repetitive thoughts must not hesitate to reach out to hotlines, peers, trusted adults. Pursuing a hobby or a new sport, engaging in physical activity and tracking your feelings in a journal could be helpful. Eating nutritious meals, and maintaining a consistent sleep pattern will keep the mind and body healthy and also help one perform better. Introspection from time to time will help you get back on the right track and will ensure that you work towards your goals.

Mental health is as essential as physical health. Demi Lovato said, “You don’t have to struggle in silence.” One person speaking up can give someone else the courage to do the same. And always remember, you are not alone. Let us together eliminate this stigma around mental health and accept ourselves the way we are.

Nitya Ravikant,

Bengaluru


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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:43:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/mental-health/article36193447.ece

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