The Major Health Issues That Impact on Young People

The Major Health Issues That Impact on Young People

  • Mental health problems and illness
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Violence
  • Road safety
  • Sexual health
  • Body image
  • Other relevant/emerging health issues, eg gambling, cyber-bullying, party crashes, drink spiking

Mental Health Problems And Illness

  • Mental health issues arise in adolescents owing but not limited to:
    • Greater autonomy
    • Pressure to conform with peers
    • Exploration of sexual identity
    • Increased access to and use of technology
  • Often social exclusion due to culture, religion and even race and be potentially harmful for mental health
  • Adolescents tend to go to depression thinking that they do not fit in anywhere. Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.
  • Abusive experiences in childhood as well as trauma from certain events can also develop mental illnesses.

Alcohol Consumption

  • Pop culture tells people that alcohol is the key to get rid of anything that troubles the mind.
  • According to the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 2.8% of 14–17-year olds drink weekly (while for the 18–24 age group, the figure is 27.9%).
  • Binge drinking is a trait often adapted from parents.
  • When explaining about alcohol consumption, parents should be clear about the severe health complications it can bring about in future (heart diseases, cancer etc.).
  • Responsible drinking should be encouraged which includes:
    • Alcohol consumption is not necessary to be cool
    • Driving while being drunk can potentially kill a person
    • All social gatherings do not demand alcohol


  • Abusive and life threatening situations experienced at a young age can trigger flashbacks and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Children who grow up in a violent and aggressive environment often replicate the behaviour leading to them hurting peers and indulging in fighting, bullying and other crimes.
  • Youth violence can often have a lethal impact and affect the society as a whole.
  • A supportive family environment should be developed for prevention, counselling can also be seeked where necessary.

Road Safety

  • Under age children should not be allowed to handle vehicles.
  • When applying for a driver’s license, parents should be clear on the general, safe rules of driving.
  • Drinking and driving should never be promoted.

Sexual Health

  • Reproductive health measures of both male and female should be addressed.
  • Adolescents should be made aware of the actions that put them in low and high risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs).
  • It should be implied and promoted that discussing reproductive health issues with an expert is not a taboo.

Body Image

  • Overweight children and adolescents should be encouraged to exercise and lose weight, but the approach shouldn’t make them feel abnormal in any way.
  • Weight challenges should always be tackled from the perspective of future health and not the appearance.
  • Adolescents should never be given pop culture references (for example, movie stars don’t really look the way they appear to be).

Other Relevant/Emerging Health Issues

  • Parents should openly discuss the rules of social media conduct. Adolescents should learn to accept that not everyone on social media will share their opinion or view on a topic.
  • Authorities should launch cyber-crime awareness campaigns.
  • Safe net connections can be established to block harmful gambling sites.