More Young Adults are Seeking Mental Health Help

November 21, 2022

Written by

Claudia Black Young Adult Center

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By Christa Banister

We’ve all learned from any number of ridiculous and often dangerous TikTok stunts that not everything that trends with young adults is a good thing. But in a world where what’s cool today is uncool tomorrow, a positive trend has emerged with some staying power.

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed an upswing in the percentage of adults getting mental health treatment. In 2019, 19.2% of adults sought help. By 2021, that number had increased to 21.6%.

The demographic that emerged as the most likely to receive treatment? The USA TODAY revealed that it’s younger adults, ages 18 to 44, mostly women, according to the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey.

It’s OK To Not Be OK

In the wake of COVID lockdowns, political unrest, financial concerns, and a number of distressing social issues, young adult mental health has been spotlighted a lot in recent years.

To help destigmatize the struggle and encourage help for young adults with mental health issues, actress-singer Selena Gomez has been open about her bipolar diagnosis and the benefits of regular therapy, reports People. Singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes who struggles with anxiety recently cancelled a world tour to prioritize his mental health. These are just two of the many young celebrities advocating for wellness.

College and professional athletes are also speaking up about the unique challenges they face with mental health in the face of high expectations, arduous training, and the emotional and physical toll on the mind and body.

Since the start of 2022, four college athletes have died by suicide with many others sharing struggles, says CBS Sports. This is just one of many harrowing statistics that reinforces the need to address depression in young adults.

In 2019, during life before COVID, anxiety in young adults affected 20% of the population while 21% had depression symptoms. During COVID, those numbers skyrocketed with 63% of young adults reporting mental health symptoms such as anxiety or depression attributed to job insecurity, loneliness, and an unmet need for mental health services, according to National Library of Medicine research. Now with mental health tools available via apps and online, treatment has become more accessible than ever.

How Does Mental Health Affect Young Adults?

Mental health is no respecter of age, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, or other factors. And the effects of untreated depression in young adults, anxiety in young adults, or other mental health disorders can’t be ignored.

For high school teens who struggle with untreated mental health disorders, they are more likely to be absent or late, fail classes, or drop out of school altogether. They also tend to engage in high-risk behaviors including drug and alcohol abuse, unprotected sex, and suicide attempts, says the CDC.

Mental health is no respecter of age, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, or other factors. And the effects of untreated depression in young adults, anxiety in young adults, or other mental health disorders can’t be ignored.

Some groups of young adults are more affected by mental health conditions than others. For example, nearly half who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, along with one-third of students who were unsure of their sexual identify, had seriously considered suicide. This was a stark contrast to their heterosexual peers.

In 2019, the number of Black students who reported attempting suicide rose by almost 50%.

The American Psychological Association recently noted that student mental health is in crisis. While acknowledging the massive increase in the demand for care — almost 40% at campus counseling centers between 2009 and 2015 — the call for even more options has never been more crucial. Unlike previous generations, young people are seeking help in record numbers.

Recognizing the Signs

Even as acknowledging these challenges has become more widely acceptable and less taboo, knowing whether to seek help for young adults with mental health issues may still seem like a gray area.

What are the signs that someone may need extra mental health support? Keep an eye out for any of the following:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Struggles with learning or concentration
  • Intense concern (or lack of concern) over appearance
  • Sudden irritability or anger
  • Excessive fear, sadness, or worry
  • Isolation or avoidance of social situations
  • A new set of friends who push the envelope with risk
  • Unexplainable health problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm or suicidal ideation
  • Loss of interest in what they used to enjoy
  • Declining grades and/or test scores

If you or someone you love is struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health or substance abuse issues, help and hope are available at Claudia Black Young Adult Center. With treatment options tailored to your specific needs, we help young adults find freedom, encouragement, and proven strategies to move forward. Reach out today to learn more.