3 Child and adolescent mental health
Think back to the biopsychosocial model that was referred to in the introduction to this course. When taking this into account, you can understand how mental health is just as important as physical factors in adolescent development. Half of all mental health conditions have already started to develop by the age of 14, rising to 75 per cent by the mid-twenties. However, they mostly go undetected, and therefore untreated, for many years (Public Health England, 2019).
Some of the mental illnesses that can be experienced by adolescents are emotional disorders, eating disorders, psychosis and self-harm or suicide. At the time of writing the third largest cause of death for 15–19-year-olds was suicide (Public Health England, 2018); therefore it is crucial that adults working within health and social care settings are able to recognise and respond appropriately to mental illness in adolescence. This stage is critical for laying down foundations for healthy emotional and social habits that are crucial for positive mental wellbeing at this age and beyond. Good mental health can help protect an adolescent from emotional and social problems, substance misuse, teen pregnancy and involvement with the police.