In a world where population and technology is growing too fast, competitiveness and brutality must also grow. This, coupled with the increase in usage of social media, leads to the youth of this generation feeling burnt out. Taking care of the mental health of children, especially adolescents, is of utmost importance. Studies have shown that the limbic system in the brain; the part responsible for emotional and behavioral responses, develops years ahead of the prefrontal cortex, which deals with reasoning.
This shows that adolescents feel more strongly; they are more sensitive and emotional than adults. However, feeling stronger emotions can hardly guarantee that the person in question is able to manage those emotions healthily. Feelings and emotions, particularly negative ones, if not dealt with healthily, can come back as scars. Scars that can take a serious toll on mental health. Over the past decade, teenage suicide rates have risen by 29%. This clearly shows the impact mental health has on teenagers.
The reasons for poor mental health may be lack of validation among peers, or bullying, which leads to a feeling of inferiority and ultimately devastation; getting trolled on social media, which may impact a person's self-image, and lead to feelings of needing to be better, perfect--which (mostly) results in eating disorders; the COVID-19 lockdown, which is, by far, the most prominent reason.
COVID-19 led to abrupt and major lifestyle changes, severely affecting the youth mentally. Their lives became (practically) online. Without socialization, mental development wasn't proper. Being stuck in one place, led to increased feelings of helplessness, anxiety, depression, and adolescents either became addicted to gaming or were exposed to things on the internet that ruined their minds. Not to mention, it led to increased anti-social behavior and suicide rates.
Now, though everything has become normal, adolescents still struggle with mental health. Our society values physical health more than mental health, with mental health often being ignored completely. Anyone requiring help mentally, is labelled 'mad'. This leads to bottling up of emotions, where adolescents choose to suffer alone, deeming it better than being misunderstood. This is why, to help them recognize, acknowledge their emotions; any help they may require mentally, and to help them navigate through life in a better way by educating them about how their minds work; Mental Health Education is a very necessary subject that needs to be introduced to schools.
Prisha Bhattacharya, India