According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “a mental illness is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. Mental health issues can vary in impact, ranging from no impairment to mild, moderate, and even severe impairment.”
Just about one in five adults in the United States are recorded as having some sort of mental health condition, which in 2020 meant 52.9 million Americans. Two general categories are used to define these conditions: Any Mental Illness (AMI) and Serious Mental Illness (SMI).
AMI is more of a general term for any mental illness ranging in severity. SMI is when a mental illness is severe and impacts your ability to accomplish daily tasks.
Mental health issues can feel isolating and difficult to handle on your own. Often, teens and young adults may not know how to communicate their feelings and end up suppressing them until they get worse.
Having a strong support network makes all the difference in treating teen and young adult mental health illnesses.
Life is difficult, especially during the developmental years of teens and young adults. Adolescents are dealing with peer pressure, school, work, finding an apartment, hormones, and parental expectations, all while trying to figure out who they are as a person.
Not every struggle is due to a mental illness, but it is important to know the warning signs so you can identify when you or a loved one needs some extra help.
General warning signs of mental illness in teens and young adults can include:
- Excessive worry, fear, or sadness
- Problems concentrating or learning
- Irritability or anger
- Extreme mood swings
- Isolating themselves or avoiding social situations
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Intense concern over appearance
- Unexplainable health problems
- Substance abuse
- Self-harm or suicidal thoughts