The Major Health Issues That Impact on Young People
- Mental health problems and illness
- Alcohol consumption
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.