June 8, (South Africa) South Coast Herald: 2018, 20% of South African teens suffer from a mental disorder https://southcoastherald.co.za/291977/20-south-african-teens-suffer-mental-disorder/ Mental health affects everyone, including teenagers. The past few years have witnessed an escalation in teen suicides and a number of anxious, depressed, and suicidal students In light of Youth Month in South Africa it is critical that we are aware of the struggles facing some of our youth. Globally, and in South Africa, approximately 20% of teens have a mental health disorder, but the majority are either not detected or untreated. The consequences can be catastrophic: common psychiatric disorders in adolescents include anxiety-, mood-, trauma- and stress- disorders, which are all associated with an increased suicide risk. The South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey recently investigated a number of key risk behaviours, including intentional and unintentional injuries, violence and traffic safety, suicide-related behaviours, behaviours related to substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol and other drugs), sexual behaviour, nutrition and dietary behaviours, physical activity and hygiene related behaviours. The study found that 24% of youths surveyed between Grade 8 to Grade 11 had experienced feelings of depression, hopelessness and sadness, while a further 21% had attempted suicide at least once. Another recent study, among school-attendees aged 14 to 15, in a large metropolitan area of Cape Town, showed that adolescents experienced a high prevalence of depression (41%), anxiety (16%) and PTSD (21%). … They may become withdrawn, stop participating in school activities, or struggle academically. If untreated, secondary complications can arise, such as dropping out of school, entrenchment of unhealthy behaviours like cutting or extreme weight gain or loss, and these may persist into adulthood.” Mental disorders have many different causes and can result from complex interactions between a person’s genes and their environment. Adolescence itself is a period of significant physical, social and emotional change and therefore a vulnerable period for the development of mental illness….