Youth Mental Health Shouldn’t be a Second Thought

Posted in Medshield Wellness | 19 June 2019

June is Youth month. A fantastic time for introspection and celebration of all our country’s young people. During this period we pay homage to the Soweto youth of 1976, honouring their sacrifices while also bringing the youth of today’s potential for being catalysts of change to the forefront of national consciousness.

More often than not, conversations about youth upliftment are geared towards the tangible. Topics like better education, skills refinement, empowerment programmes, sports development and nutrition take centre stage, with very little attention given to intangible factors that affect the youth’s ability to fulfil their potential. Things like mental health. Yet now, more than ever, mental health issues and deteriorating states of mind in young people are gaining prominence as causes for concern.

According to The South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey of 2018, 20% of South African teenagers suffer from some form of mental health issue, with the majority going untreated or undetected. The study also found that just over 24% of learners between Grade 8 and Grade 11 had experienced depression and feelings of hopelessness, while a further 21% had attempted suicide at least once. The South African Depression and Anxiety Group also found that in the 15-24 age group, suicide is the second leading – and fastest growing – cause of death.Read More