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Mental illness is term that encompasses a wide range of distinct diagnosable mental health ailments, disorders, diseases, and conditions, and is characterized by a clinically significant disturbance in one’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior. Mental health disorders can affect all areas of a young person’s life. In many cases the pervasive symptoms associated with a mental health illness prohibit a teen from functioning optimally and directly interfere with his or her ability to complete simple daily tasks. Mental illness is highly common among the adolescent population in the United States. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) indicates “at least one in five youth aged 9-17 years currently has a diagnosable mental health disorder that causes some degree of impairment; one in ten has a disorder that causes significant impairment.” According to findings from the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative half of all mental health conditions start by age 14 but most cases go undetected and untreated. Untreated mental health illnesses can lead to severe short- and long-term physiological complications and adverse outcomes. The lingering stigma surrounding mental health illness remains a notable barrier to treatment.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides several suggestions to help dispel, or at the very least avoid perpetuating, the stigma surrounding mental health treatment, some of which include the following:

  • Speak openly about mental health. Sharing your opinions and/ or personal experiences can help instill courage in others facing similar challenges.
  • Educate yourself and others.
  • Show compassion for those with mental illness.
  • Encourage equality between physical and mental illness.
  • Do not allow yourself to be defined by your illness. Be conscious of your language, and do not equate yourself with your condition (rather than saying “I’m bipolar,” say “I have bipolar disorder”).
  • Lean on your loved ones and allow them to offer their support.

It is important to note that mental health treatment can be helpful for teenagers without diagnosed disorders. Young people enter adolescence with the emotional coping mechanisms discovered in pre-adolescent years, many of which are quickly deemed ineffective and rendered rather useless during the teenage years. As young individuals mature, they are faced with new challenges that require more sophisticated coping strategies. Learning a variety of different coping mechanisms and various stress management skills from a qualified mental health clinician can behoove any teen, and these honed skills are likely to serve as useful tools far beyond adolescence, long into the future.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.  


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