Importance of Youth Mental Health

Mental Health and its effect on youth development: 

Adolescent development is a complex change in life. Young individuals will experience change in both biological and social aspects in development that may be met with effects that can impact their mental health in a positive or negative direction. One of the main reasons why mental health professionals as well as mental health related field of research dedicated effort to understand adolescent mental health because of its complexity, but most importantly due to the fact that majority of adolescents may often be reluctant to share what they are experiencing and how it is affecting them (Guyer et al., 2016).

Emotional Hyperreactivity 

During adolescence, emotions tend to be intense, leading to developing euphoric and depressed-like states when involved in social contexts or events that occur in life. For adolescents, they may also experience positive emotions in short-term spells, unlike adults, and this is aligned with their development and the changes that are occurring to them neurologically (Guyer et al., 2016). Understanding emotions and how to manage them is crucial at this stage, as adolescents is stage of vulnerability and opportunity, which can lead to behaviours that are of benefit to the growth and development or behaviours that impact development (drug use, risk taking, self-harm and or suicide) if emotional dysregualtion is long term (Guyer et al., 2016).

Several Signs of Emotional Hypersensitivity in youth: 

– High empathy

– Prone to perfectionism and overstimulation

– Hard to understand their emotional state of being

– Unable to bare change

– Unable to regulate emotions on their own

How therapy can help adolescents understand their emotions and learn to regulate: 

Through the process of talk-therapy, youth can learn/understand the emotions that they are currently experiencing, as well as gain tools that can help them manage such emotions in an effective and adaptive manner. Due to their nature of reluctance to discuss mental health concerns, mental health professionals can take their time and pace the sessions until the client feels comfortable discussing their concerns, which research has shown that adolescents prefer this as they develop a therapeutic relationship with the therapist as well as feel comfortable to discuss their concerns (Lukoševičiūtė-Barauskienė et al.,2023).

Methods of helping youth cope and regulate emotions can very, but can include journaling one’s thoughts and feelings, learning breathing techniques that can help regulate the

emotions experienced during a specific event, and learning ways to develop self-care strategies that can promote healthier mental well-being.A strong asset to working with youth and helping them in their mental health journey is parental involvement in the care. Oftentimes things that occur in the home are related to how the youth is being impacted emotionally. Discussing with parents plans of care, as well as establishing a connected support unit with the therapist and client with the family may help develop a positive change in youth mental health (depending on case and situation).

How to be supportive in these situations as a parent or guardian: 

– Be present with them by practicing awareness of these emotions.

– Validate what they are experiencing to normalize the feelings, allowing a since of being heard.

– Encourage them to discuss their emotions and create a safe environment to be able to work through them.

– Seek support from youth workers, therapists or counselors for more help in their exploration of their emotions and well being.


Guyer, A. E., Silk, J. S., & Nelson, E. E. (2016). The neurobiology of the emotional adolescent: From the inside out. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 70, 74–85.

Lukoševičiūtė-Barauskienė, J., Žemaitaitytė, M., Šūmakarienė, V., & Šmigelskas, K. (2023). Adolescent perception of mental health: It’s not only about oneself, it’s about others too. Children, 10(7), 1109.