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Adolescent mental well-being

Several changes take place in the brain during teenage years; new connections are forming, the white brain matter is increasing, and large hormonal changes take place. On top of this, schoolwork, activities, family or friend drama, and often far too little sleep, can easily leave teens feeling overwhelmed.

Teenagers are more likely to suffer with mood disorders and social anxiety than other age groups; this follows the pressure and fear of not being accepted and a need to fit in. Social anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders. Teens may dread everyday activities, such as talking in groups, working, or meeting strangers; they may also demonstrate low self-esteem, avoid eye to eye contact, and misuse drugs to try to reduce their anxiety.

It is normal to feel sad or moody or grouchy once in a while, even to cry over seemingly small insignificant things. However if feelings of sadness, anger, frustration or hopelessness continue for weeks or months or longer, a teen may be demonstrating untreated depression. These feelings make it hard to function normally or participate in usual activities.

Bullying is an anti-social behavioural problem that affects many people regardless of age. Settings that place a number of people together, such as schools, workplaces or playgrounds, increase the likelihood of bullying being seen. Bullying is serious for all those concerned, and should never be ignored. People who are bullied require support to overcome it, and those who engage in bullying behaviour also need support.

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