We often talk about mental health challenges as if they’re only faced by adults. However, youth and young adults also face mental health challenges, and their experiences will be different than adults’.
According to the Youth Mental Health First Aid curriculum, approximately 20% of children and youth ages 13-18 face a mental health challenge or disorder that significantly impacts their lives. Some are mild and only last for a short period, but others can last a lifetime.
What’s more, the physical, mental, social and emotional changes during adolescent development (age 12-18) can also impact how children and youth feel and communicate. This can make it difficult to tell whether a young person is developing or experiencing a mental health challenge or disorder or simply going through typical changes.
That’s why it’s important that adults who regularly interact with children and youth understand adolescent development and mental health so they’re able to support the young people around them.
Youth Mental Health First Aid has two aims:
Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches adults how to recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge, listen nonjudgmentally to a young person in distress, and offer the appropriate support.
Sometimes young people don’t realize that they are facing a mental health challenge or feel embarrassed asking for support. That’s why it’s important that you have the right information and tools to #BeTheDifference for the children and youth in your life.