The years after high school are a time when teens and young adults face many new experiences and responsibilities, including how to look after their own physical and mental health.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses begin by age 14 and nearly 75% begin by age 24.
Diagnosing mental health conditions is not always straightforward. Unlike physical conditions that can be confirmed with a test or imaging, mental health conditions are diagnosed by their signs and symptoms, and your medical history.
“The rate of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, has steadily increased over the past eight years,” according to a recent article by Boston University. “Rates are even higher among racial and ethnic minority students.”
When symptoms go undetected and untreated, they have a greater potential for interfering with your everyday life—and your long-term goals.
The National Alliance on Mental Health wants you to be aware of the following warning signs:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Trying to harm or end one’s life or making plans to do so
- Severe, out-of-control, risk-taking behavior that causes harm to self or others
- Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort, or difficulty breathing
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Seeing, hearing, or believing things that aren’t real
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality, or sleeping habits
- Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
If you recognize these signs and symptoms, it’s important to reach out for support. Your Assistance Program can be an excellent resource for information, resources, and referrals for short-term counseling.
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