Focus Area 8: Mental Health Basics
4. Mental Health Disorders Prevalent Among Youth

Mental health disorders are common among children and young people in the United States. By some estimates, as many as 1 in 5 school-aged youth are affected. In this section, you’ll learn about the most common mental health disorders currently affecting youth. Your goal is to gain knowledge of signs that you as a youth worker need to be aware of and how you can respond to better support the youth you serve.

Again, this is not an exhaustive list of mental health disorders. Additionally, since we will not go into great detail about any individual disorder, we have included links to resources for additional information. 

As you complete this section, it’s important to be aware of co-occurrence or co-morbidity, which means that though one disorder may present more obviously or more strongly than another, it is very common for a person to experience multiple mental health concerns at one time or over the course of a lifetime.

In the following pages we’ll cover four specific mental health disorders that you are likely to encounter in your work with young people:

  • Adolescent Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Trauma and Stress-related Disorders

You’ll see that Suicide Ideation and Self-Harm are addressed within the Adolescent Depression section. Neither of these is a disorder in and of themselves but rather they are often symptoms of Adolescent Depression.

The section on Trauma and Stress-related Disorders will include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is also known as Acute Stress Disorder, Adjustment Disorders, and Disruptive Disorders.

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