World Teen Mental Wellness Day Has Come And Gone, But The Facts On Black Teen Mental Health Remain

World Teen Mental Wellness Day Has Come And Gone, But The Facts On Black Teen Mental Health Remain
World Teen Mental Wellness Day Has Come And Gone, But The Facts On Black Teen Mental Health

World Teen Mental Wellness Day, in case you missed it, is a globally recognised day dedicated to raising awareness about teen mental health issues. Adults may struggle to tell the difference between normal adolescent behaviour (moodiness, social withdrawal) and mental health issues. If you ask a teen, they will most likely tell you that depression is a serious problem that affects their age group. According to Pew Research Center data, seven out of ten teenagers see mental health as a major issue for teenagers across most gender, racial, and socioeconomic lines.
Some of the top stressors causing mental health issues in teens were listed as pressure to get good grades, fit in socially, look good, and excel in extracurricular activities.
While mental health issues affect people of all races and ethnicities, there has been an increase in major depressive episodes among Black youth in recent years, according to Mental Health America. Furthermore, teens who deal with poverty, gang violence, or teen pregnancy are more likely to struggle with mental health issues – all of which affect minority groups more than white communities. The facts point to one conclusion: monitoring your teen's mental health is more important than ever. Here are some facts about Black teen mental health and ways parents can support their children.
Black Adolescent Suicide Is Increasing
According to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, as of 2018, suicide was the second leading cause of death among Black youth aged 10 to 14. One group in particular is at risk: adolescent girls. According to the study, the largest annual percentage change in suicide rates among girls aged 15 to 17 was in the 15- to 17-year age group. This is part of a trend that has been going on for decades. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, black adolescent suicide increased by 73% between 1991 and 2017.
Pre-existing Issues In Suicidal Teens
A study published in the National Library of Health examined Black teenagers who had suicidal ideation and discovered common clinical issues that had previously existed. Relationship issues, mental health issues, interpersonal trauma, and life stressors were the most common (such as grades or appearance). These worries reoccurred frequently in the run-up to suicidal ideation. While such issues may appear to be a "normal" part of adolescent life, research shows that dismissing them as such can have serious consequences.
Black Youth Receive Less Treatment
While Black youth are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems, according to Mental Health First Aid, they are less likely to seek or receive treatment. In fact, despite the fact that depression is the most common mental health condition among Black people, only about half of Black adolescents who report depression seek treatment. They're also less likely to finish treatment if they start it. In addition, research has found that black teens are less likely than white teens to have seen adults in their lives go to therapy.
Parental Bias Are Part Of The Problem
Black teens, as minors, rely heavily on their caregivers to take the lead on their mental health treatment. That also means that their fate is heavily influenced by their caregivers' attitudes toward mental health treatment. According to Issues in Mental Health Nursing research, the ideas and stigmas that caregivers of teens have about mental health play a significant role in why Black teens do not receive treatment. These stigmas include the belief that having mental health problems is shameful and that mental health is not as important as physical health.
The Mental Health Field Lacks Diversity
Any patient, regardless of age or race, needs to believe that their mental healthcare provider understands and relates to them. Finding this in a therapist, on the other hand, is not easy for Black teenagers. According to the American Psychology Association, only 4% of psychologists and even fewer psychiatrists identify as Black. With a teen's distrust of healthcare providers being one barrier to seeking help, the lack of diversity in the mental healthcare field is a major issue.
Know The Signs
To assist their Black teenagers with mental health issues, parents must first learn to recognise the warning signs. According to Rutgers University research, Black adolescents express depression symptoms differently than other racial teen groups, specifically by complaining about interpersonal issues or physical pain. Parents should be on the lookout if their teen expresses increased concern about relationship or friendship drama, or if there is an increase in complaints about physical discomfort. The latter should be discussed with a doctor, but if a physical issue is ruled out, it could be due to mental health issues.
Keep The Lines Of Communication Open
Anxiety and depression are less common in teens who feel bonded to and trust their parents, according to research from the National Library of Health. While social isolation from the parental unit may appear to be "normal" for teenagers, parents should not accept it completely. Maintain open lines of communication. Prioritize family dinners. Do not dismiss moodiness in teens as normal adolescent behaviour; instead, talk to your children about how they're feeling. Parents should not dismiss adolescent issues, such as relationship problems or insecurities about their appearance, as "unimportant." They can lead to mental health problems if they are important to a teen but are not addressed.
Normalize Seeking Help
Much research on caregivers of teens with depression indicates that the caregivers' beliefs and opinions about mental health care have a significant impact on whether or not teenagers receive the help they require. Parents can assist their teenagers by making mental health discussions a normal part of the conversation, removing the stigma associated with it, and speaking positively about mental healthcare providers.
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