When it comes to mental health affecting youth, there are many myths and misconceptions for parents and kids to overcome. The key to fighting any health condition, including a mental health illness, is knowing the facts. Only with the right information can we develop an effective plan for safely and effectively dealing with these mental health issues.
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The first and perhaps most important fact is that approximately 20 percent of all youths aged 13 to 18 will have a serious mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That’s one in five. But what else do we need to know about the way mental illness affects our youth?
1. Drug or Alcohol Use is a Warning Sign
There’s no denying that most kids will experiment with drugs or alcohol during their teenage years. Movies and television shows often glamorize the use of booze and drugs like marijuana or cocaine, giving kids the impression that it’s cool to use them.
But according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, repeated and frequent use of drugs or alcohol could be a sign that your teen is trying to compensate for a growing mental health problem. They may be using these substances to overcome serious issues with anxiety, depression, or something else.