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  • Writer's pictureLarissa Velasco

The Rollercoaster of Adolescent Mental Health

We wanted to bring some insights about mental health promotion for teenagers. Picture this period as a thrilling rollercoaster ride—full of ups, downs, twists, and turns. As we grow from kids to young adults, we're on a wild journey to discover our identity, often feeling like we're caught between childhood and adulthood. This transitional period can be exciting, confusing, and challenging all at once.

During adolescence, we experience biological, social, and emotional changes that shape our attitudes and behaviours. Our bodies are rapidly changing as we go through puberty. We may start to feel pressure from peers and society to fit in or conform to certain expectations. And on top of it all, our brains are still developing, making us more prone to impulsive decision-making and emotional outbursts. These changes can result in a rollercoaster of emotions, from excitement and joy to anxiety and frustration. As such, it's no surprise that mental health issues often arise during adolescence. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all mental health conditions start by age fourteen and three-quarters by age twenty-four, and that's why we find it essential to bring some light to this topic.

The Power of Peer Influence and Social Norms:

Each development stage presents a different set of challenges, and as we come from a pre-adolescent confusing stage, puberty can be the exacerbation of it, filled with intense feelings and controversies. You know that feeling when you want to fit in, but sometimes it feels like you're walking on a tightrope? Well, peer groups have a massive impact on how we see ourselves and our choices. Sometimes, there's this unspoken rulebook that everyone seems to follow, and if you're a bit different? Things can get tricky, and it's a common sensation to experience during that time. The fear of not fitting in can be overwhelming, leading some to hide their true selves or do things they're uncomfortable with.

But here's the thing: we have expectations, and we aren't often in perfect conditions, so that's where conflict arises. It's important to remember that peer pressure is not always negative. In fact, peers can also positively influence our lives and help us grow in many ways. They introduce us to new ideas and experiences, challenge our beliefs and perspectives, and provide support during difficult times. However, when that influence becomes too intense or manipulative, it can lead to unhealthy behaviours and habits. This is why we must surround ourselves with positive and supportive peers who respect our boundaries and individuality.

Promoting open conversations and celebrating individuality can create supportive spaces where everyone feels accepted, and on top of all this, it's often the time people are getting in touch with their desires, understanding their preferences and their selves. It's also a time to explore hobbies and interests and to think about what makes you happy and fulfilled. This is when peer groups can be beneficial, as they offer a sense of community and belonging. We can create lasting positive relationships with our peers by being open-minded and accepting of ourselves and others. It's all about balance—learning from peers while staying true to ourselves.

Understanding the Challenges:

Adolescence isn't just about figuring out who you are; it's also about navigating challenges like academic pressures, body image issues, and complex relationships. It's a time when we start to question everything, and there may be a strong desire to impact the world, and there's a fire that can be very powerful if channelled correctly.

And let's not forget the digital world! Social media can be both a blessing and a curse, and it's essential to remember that life isn't always about presenting a 'perfect' image but embracing our authentic selves and creating spaces where we can feel loved and cared for.

Building Resilience and Mindset:

Resilience is a keyword here, and it's all about bouncing back stronger from setbacks and viewing challenges as growth opportunities. By cultivating a positive mindset, you can tackle obstacles head-on and harness your creativity to navigate life's ups and downs. Study shows that the greater resilience, the more likely a person is to have a positive perspective towards life. While it's great to question and explore the world around you, remember to tune into your emotions. Emotional intelligence is like a muscle—the more you practice understanding, managing, and expressing your feelings, the stronger it becomes. As you journey into adulthood, focusing on self-awareness and self-actualization becomes essential, empowering you to make choices aligned with your values and aspirations. But remember, it's okay to seek support and lean on trusted adults or professionals when needed.

To conclude, remember that everyone's journey is unique. While adolescence brings its set of challenges, it's also a time of incredible growth, learning, and discovery. By fostering positive relationships and environments, embracing resilience, and prioritizing emotional intelligence, you're setting the stage for a fulfilling journey into adulthood. So, keep embracing your unique self, seek support when needed, and remember, you've got this! After all, life's adventures are just beginning, and there's a whole world out there waiting for you to explore. Stay curious, stay true, and remember to enjoy the ride!

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