Mental Health

This is the newest Tonka CARES committee which grew out of the growing concern and recognition that substance use and mental health issues are intricately linked. This committee is going through a strategic planning phase to best identify the gaps and needs in the community and how the coalition might fill them.

Mental Health in Adolescents

Important mental health habits—including coping, resilience, and good judgment—help adolescents to achieve overall well-being and set the stage for positive mental health in adulthood. Mood swings are common during adolescence. However, one in five adolescents has had a serious mental health disorder, such as depression and/or anxiety disorders, at some point in their life.

When left untreated, mental health disorders can lead to serious—even life-threatening—consequences. Depression, other mental health disorders, and substance abuse are major risk factors for suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. As of 2013, children ages 10 to 14 are more likely to die from suicide than in a motor vehicle accident. Problems with mental health often start early in life. In fact, half of all mental health problems begin by age 14. The good news is that promoting positive mental health can prevent some problems from starting. For young people who already have mental health disorders, early intervention and treatment can help lessen the impact on their lives.

Unfortunately, less than half of adolescents with psychiatric disorders received any kind of treatment in the last year. Friends and family can watch for warning signs of mental disorders and urge young people to get help. Effective treatments exist and may involve a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

Any concerns that family members or healthcare providers have about an adolescent’s mental health should be promptly addressed.

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Christine Arulanantham
Project Coordinator
952-401-5056 (desk)