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Introduction to adolescent mental health
Introduction to adolescent mental health

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Session 3: Different dimensions of adolescent mental health


Mental health becomes a problem when it interferes with daily life.

Depressed or sad young person sitting on the floor with head resting on knees and arms wrapped around legs.
Figure 1

Although individuals vary, there are certain signs and behaviours that can signal that a young person is struggling with their mental health and in this session you’ll learn about some of them. Mental health depends on social, emotional and psychological wellbeing. The causes of mental health problems are often a combination of biology (how the brain and body work, especially in response to stress), psychological traits (e.g. personality type), the social environment (life experience), and sometimes certain chemical substances (such as alcohol or marijuana). A tendency to develop mental health problems can run in families, although the reasons for this are complicated and may include inequalities and poverty that run between generations. There is still a great deal of debate among researchers about how these factors interact. However, most experts now agree that there is rarely a single cause.

To get started on understanding some of the different dimensions that can affect mental health, watch the video, which features a group of young people describing their own experiences of mental health problems.

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Video 1: Mental health in our own words
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This session will introduce you to four sets of common mental health problems, starting with anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are commonly used terms, and you will get below the surface to discover what they mean. Anxiety and depression can sometimes develop into other behaviours such as eating disorders and self-harm. On your journey through this session, you may encounter material that can be unsettling, although we hope that the knowledge and understanding you gain will help you to become a more effective supporter of young people who are struggling with their mental health. If you are affected by any of the course material please refer to our support notes at the end of this session [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .