Transitioning from childhood to adulthood can be challenging. It is a period of physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. Living in a fast-paced, 24/7 connected environment such as Silicon Valley, our youth and young adults often face amplified pressures and stress.
It can be concerning to know when these issues are negatively impacting an adolescent or young adult and being able to identify appropriate resources for support can be challenging. Recognizing a few key behaviors can indicate if someone is struggling with anxiety, depression or another mental health condition. Behaviors that can signal a problem include:
- Change in sleeping patterns or appetite
- Loss of self-esteem and expression of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in favorite activities and hobbies
- Isolation and abandonment of friends and social activities
- Unexpected and dramatic decline in academic performance
- Personality changes that are out of character, such as aggressiveness or excessive anger, or extreme moodiness or sadness
- Abuse of alcohol or other drugs
It is important to reach out for professional help if you are concerned for an adolescent. Early intervention may help prevent a mental health crisis.
There are many protective factors that help to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety and can improve overall mental wellness. These factors include:
- Adequate sleep
- Regular exercise
- Healthy, balanced diet
- Connection with supportive friends, family, and mentors
- Strong coping skills
- Social support including community and school engagement
Incorporating these factors into daily life enhances a balanced and healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally.
There are programs and services in our community that can be a resource and help families identify if a teen or young adult is struggling with a mental health condition. The El Camino Hospital ASPIRE program offers solutions and provides hope for middle school, high school and young adults experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Program staff works with participants and their families to gain emotional wellness, develop healthy behaviors and manage their feelings, emotions and personal interactions. To schedule a free, confidential assessment, please call the El Camino Hospital Mental Health Access line at 866-789-6089.
This article appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of Chinese Health Initiative’s Wellness eNewsletter. Learn more about the Chinese Health Initiative.