Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Introduction to adolescent mental health
Introduction to adolescent mental health

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Session 4: Recognising mental health problems


As indicated in session 1, the way in which we talk about mental health varies from person to person. In general, particularly when it has a major impact on their ability to function, a person who is feeling ‘extremely sad’ or ‘very worried’ may be diagnosed with a mental health condition, for example, ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’. However, in other cases, such feelings may be viewed as understandable reactions to events that will pass with time. A person who seeks to make sense of their mental health problems may come to understand it in the context of their life experience, while a health professional may be looking for evidence of specific ‘symptoms’ to see if a psychiatric diagnosis is appropriate.

An illustration of early symptoms of mental illness.
Figure 1: Early symptoms of mental health illness

Behind the scenes, some mental health practitioners are continually seeking the right balance between making mental health a medical problem, or seeing it as a continuum along a line of ‘healthy’ to ‘unhealthy’ adaptations to life’s stresses. In this session, you will explore the different ways in which mental health is viewed.

To get started, listen to Tanya Byron again, this time talking about different professional approaches to recognising mental health problems. She uses a number of technical terms, but don’t worry too much about this now, as you’ll explore these in Activity 1.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Audio 1: Interview with Professor Tanya Byron
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Audio 1: Interview with Professor Tanya Byron
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).