Bridget Hughes

Youth Advisor

Teen Mental Health Day is May 21, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and May 23, 2021 is Teen Mental Health Awareness Day in the City of Pittsburgh and in the State of Pennsylvania.

Mental health awareness is beneficial for everyone, but highlighting teens is important because teens experience unique obstacles that other age groups do not.  

According to the World Health Organization, half of all mental health conditions start by age fourteen, but most cases go undetected and untreated. Early treatment of mental illness can improve and even save lives. In addition, teens will shape the future, so creating a culture of acceptance early on paves the way for a better tomorrow. Teens deserve to take up space and advocate for themselves — both individually, for their own mental health, and collectively, to create a more tolerant society.

It is crucial to address the many barriers to mental health care. Teens without their parents’ approval, as well as teens without insurance or funds, have difficulty obtaining treatment. Teens in marginalized communities experience larger disparities in mental health services, and have higher rates of mental disorders. These and many more issues exist because of systemic discrimination, and need to be addressed.

Mental health is health, and should be treated that way. Even though mental health awareness is becoming more mainstream, too often this acceptance ends when symptoms become severe, or when stigmatized disorders are brought into the conversation. Teen Mental Health Awareness Day is one step towards promoting accommodation and ending stigma for everyone.

 

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UpStreet would like to thank youth advisory board members Abby Rickin-Marks and Bridget Hughes, who were involved in creating Teen Mental Health Awareness Day.