May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the first week of the month is dedicated to create children’s mental health awareness.

  • Mental Health is an important and integral part of the adolescents’ wellbeing.
  • Mental Health is not simply the presence or absence of symptoms. It includes general feeling and functioning, as well as having resilience when facing a setback.
  • Adolescence is a time where mental health disorders first appear.
  • Two- thirds of adults with psychiatric problems began between the ages of 15-25.
  • Most adolescents enjoy a positive mental health development, though more than a third of this group have experienced or currently are experiencing anxiety, depression symptoms or a debilitating mental health disorder.
  • Everyone feels worried or anxiety at times; adolescents experience strong emotions as part of their normal development but when symptoms persist for more than two weeks and interfere with their daily lives, it can be a warning sign for the adults caregivers.
  • Suicide deaths (usually prompted by a mental health disorder) globally surpass vehicle accidents at the age of 10-14, and is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds.
  • Mental health support starts at the home, school and at the health professional office (physician or psychologist).
  • Adolescents should have access to Mental Health services breaking the barriers of stigma, ignorance and misunderstanding.

The maturation process in adolescents to adults is through changes and development, facing issues that most of them will overcome.

Key aspects in their development to empower youths:

  • Healthy relationships with peers and caring adults
  • Helping them to build a positive mental health & physical health habits as they grow and change
  • Coping, resilience, good judgment for good/right decisions
  • Healthy eating habits, exercise, preventing substance abuse
  • Inform and educate on reproductive health and teen pregnancy
  • Substance use and abuse 

Ways to support

  • Caring adults
  • Clinical prevention
  • Crisis intervention
  • Education

For all adults and peers living with adolescents or teenagers and according to the NIMH (National Institute of mental health – US) a child or teen might need help if they:

  • Often feel very angry or very worried
  • Have difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Are unable to enjoy pleasurable activities they used to enjoy
  • Isolate themselves and avoid social interactions
  • Feel grief for a long time after a loss or death
  • Use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
  • Exercise, diet, and/or binge eat obsessively
  • Hurt other people or destroy property
  • Have low or no energy
  • Feel like they can’t control their emotions
  • Have thoughts of suicide
  • Harm themselves (e.g., burning or cutting their skin)
  • Think their mind is being controlled or is out of control
  • Hear voices

At NPH a comprehensive assessment physical, developmental and psychological is given upon entrance and is monitored and followed up by the clinic staff (doctor and psychologist) if there is a mental health diagnosis. This helps to prevent future complications.

Most NPH children experience some sort of PTSD , because of their background before entering NPH and if they had suffered violence, abuse of any type of abandonment and neglect.

Around 2% need to have consultation with external specialists and have psychiatric treatment.

NPH uses an interdisciplinary team including physician, psychologist, occupational therapist, art therapist and physical therapist to support children.

NPHI Medical Services

Data from

US department of health and Human Services

NIH National Institute of Health

MGMH Movement for Global Mental Health

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