Growing into adulthood is exciting! Especially when one gets into college studies. A new college, new friends, a new environment with newly found freedom can be thrilling. However, there are challenges. Peer pressure, academic demands, and parental demands can be overwhelming. The transition from childhood to adulthood has not always been easy. Much more so in unprecedented times of the information age, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and the whole gamut of social media.
We tend to ignore the challenges young adults face. We brush it aside and say, “It is all part of growing up.” But on the other side, the newspapers report more and more cases of self-harm, leading to suicide in many cases. What could be the reason for such a drastic decision in a young adult? Some of the reasons reported are:
Increased academic and social demands
Stressful family environments
Termination of a relationship
Being bullied, including cyberbullying
It is high time we carefully consider the need to address the challenges of this age group.
We often think that mental health is associated with old age. However, research says that 75% of mental health conditions start at the age of 24. It is alarming, forcing us to take a serious look at how young adults are growing up. Another report confirms mental health and obesity are the most common problems young adults face.
What should we do as parents, teachers, and members of society?
We may consider:
Educating Young Adults
Initiating preventive measures
Identifying the onset of mental health conditions
Educating Young Adults: Encourage young adults to develop healthy habits and lifestyles. Physical, emotional, and mental health are interconnected. Educate them to take care of their physical health to take care of the mind. Selfcare, exercise, and getting enough sleep are essential for healthy growth. Make them comfortable to talk about their issues. Let them know that talking about a health condition is a strength and that one can always see a school/college counselor or even see a doctor for any health concerns.
Initiating preventive measures: Develop a trusting relationship with your young adult. Encourage them to involve in activities and sports such as chess, basketball, debates, speaking clubs, learning music, etc. Wholistic health promotion is of prime importance in young adults. Seek help from NGOs involved in supporting mental health conditions.
Identifying the symptoms: Mental health conditions are common; one in every five young adults experiences mental health conditions. Look for signs of feeling lonely, drastic mood changes, lack of interest in anything, eating disorders, addictions, and substance misuse.
If you notice any of these, seek help and see a doctor. Support groups specifically for the needs of younger adults for early intervention in psychosis services are shown to work better than traditional care and have also proven to be cost-effective.
Let us strive to pave the path for a healthy tomorrow. Today’s healthy Young Adults are tomorrow’s healthy world.
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