These changes include physical changes as well as changes to their thought processes and emotions (cognitive and emotional changes), sense of identity and values (psychological changes), relationships (social changes), and realistic aspirations for the future.
With adolescence and young adulthood comes a significant time of change and development.
The onset of mental health problems at this time of life can therefore have significant impact on the development of important life skills if left untreated.
When you are worried about somebody it is important to consider whether your worries are related to normal changes in a young person, or whether perhaps a mental health problem is developing.
Sometimes working out which is which can be tricky but some things to look for might include:
- changes in sleeping patterns
- sleeping too much or not enough
- changes in mood: erratic, irrational, moody, over anxious, socially withdrawn
- changes in behaviour: school grades falling, disrupting family life, using alcohol and drugs, secretive, getting into trouble
- changes in diet and weight: becoming overly worried about weight, eating too much or not enough, becoming secretive about food, vomiting after eating
While many of these changes might just be part of the normal ups and downs of life, if they persist for an extended period of time and begin to significantly impact on other aspects of the young person’s life then it is possible a mental health problem may be developing.
For more information from headspace on the key changes in a young person's mental health click here.
This article was first published in The Land's 2013 Glove Box Guide to Mental Health. To read more from the guide, click here.