Half of all mental illness begins by age 14

Wednesday, 1 May 2019
Half of all mental illness begins by age 14

Research by the World Health Organisation showed that half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.

Worldwide, it is estimated that 10 – 20% of teens experience mental health conditions.



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Teens have to deal with lots of changes

Our teenage years and early adulthood are a time of many changes: changing bodies, relationships, schools, leaving home, starting uni or a new job. These changes can be exciting and challenging, but at times also daunting and stressful.

Half of all mental illness begins by age 14


Social media and online technology can help people stay connected. But they also bring added pressure and stress.

If these feelings aren’t recognised and managed, they can lead to mental illness.

Mental health risks for teens

The World Health Organisation found that the leading mental health risks for teens include:

1. Emotional disorders

Globally, depression and anxiety are leading causes mental of illness and disability among teens. Those with emotional disorders can also experience excessive irritability, frustration, or anger; with quick and unexpected changes in mood and emotional outbursts.

2. Eating disorders

Eating disorders like anorexia and binge eating commonly emerge during our teenage years and young adulthood, with females more likely to be affected.

3. Psychosis

Disorders which include symptoms of psychosis most commonly appear in late teens or early adulthood. Symptoms can include hallucinations (such as hearing or seeing things which are not there) or delusions (including fixed, non-accurate beliefs).

4. Risk taking behaviours

Harmful use of alcohol and drugs, can lead to risky behaviours like unsafe sex, violence or dangerous driving.


teens drinking

5. Suicide and self-harm

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15–19 year olds'.

Prevention of mental illness begins with better awareness and understanding

There is a lot that we can do to help teens and young adults to build mental resilience from an early age to help prevent mental illness.

It starts with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness.

Parents, carers and teachers can help build life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school.


Tips for parents with teens

We've put together 14 great tips from global teen expert Louise Hayes to help parents develop a meaningful relationship with their child and help them thrive. 


14 tips for parents of teens


Sometimes teenagers do need professional help. 

Inspiro's experienced youth and young adult counsellors are located at Belgrave, Healesville, Yarra Junction and Lilydale. Thanks to support from the Yarra Ranges council, counselling is free for youth up to the age of 25. 

Call us on 9028 0153.

To learn 9 simple teen tips that will help you understand your teens and build better relationships with them click here.

9 tips to understand your teens