How Common Is Mental Illness with Younger People?

A young child plays with building blocks.


Did you know that mental illnesses develop in young children based on the way they grow up? If a child has an absent or abusive parent, the child may seek out ways to cope, which can include isolating from other people or even responding to others with bursts of anger. The way in which a child experiences parental guidance or parental neglect greatly determines how they will react in various situations. Furthermore, a child’s reaction is directly correlated to the mental problems they experience later in life. 

Due to their young age, many children lack a) the cognitive ability to cope with stressful situations and b) the therapy required to address tools that will help them cope with the situation they are facing. So, it may come as no surprise that when a child’s mental health condition is left untreated, they are likely to experience anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, and other mental setbacks throughout their adult life. With the onset of the 2019 pandemic, the need for mental health resources for everyone, including children, is even in greater demand than it was previously. 

The first signs of nearly half of all mental health disorders first appear before a person reaches the age of 14 and three-quarters of mental health disorders start before the age of 24, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. With that said, in this post, we will attempt to remove the negative stigma of mental health disorders and provide education and resources as it relates to addressing specific types of mental health problems. 


Types of Mental Disorders


Before we address symptoms of specific mental health disorders and ways to seek professional help, we believe It’s important to understand the variety and general categories of common mental health disorders. Mental illnesses are typically placed in one of the following classifications:


  • Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating
  • Personality disorders such as antisocial, paranoia, and borderline personality
  • Mood disorders such as major depressive, bipolar, and cyclothymia
  • Thought disorders include social anxiety, phobias, and generalized anxiety
  • Developmental disorders such as autism, spectrum disorders, and ADHD


Common Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions 


While the following symptoms are by no means an exhaustive list of symptoms, they are also not indicative of a mental health order. In other words, there are many other symptoms that can indicate a mental health disorder as symptoms vary from person to person. Additionally, if your child or a child you know has one or more of these symptoms, it does not inherently mean they have a mental health disorder. If a mental health disorder is suspected, we warmly encourage you to reach out to us and let our expert team conduct a psychoanalysis to determine if and what mental health disorder is present. With that said, below is a list of common symptoms of general mental illnesses.


  • Changes in sleep
  • New onset of guilt
  • Changes in energy level
  • Changes in concentration or task completion
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in motivation
  • Thoughts of suicide


Common mental illnesses seen in young people include generalized anxiety, social phobias, and depression. As we touched on above, each type of mental illness has its own distinct symptoms, so it’s important to note that and identify each disorder accordingly. In young adults, common mental illnesses include anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Did you know that if an adult is susceptible to a mental illness they will develop it by the time they are in college? According to a 2022 survey, 60% of college students reported being diagnosed by a professional with a mental health condition. However, there are also many other causes of and triggers for mental health issues. With that said, we encourage everyone to take their mental health seriously and continuously be aware of your feelings and thoughts. 


When to See a Mental Health Professional


How do you know if a teen or young adult needs professional mental health services? A young person experiencing the before-mentioned mental health symptoms regularly for an extended duration of time should consult with one of our mental health professionals who can conduct a psychoanalysis and identify the illness in question. A diagnosis is the starting point for seeking the appropriate mental health services and starting the necessary treatment. This will help identify proper coping tools which will improve one’s enjoyment of life. 


If you’re concerned that a young person you know is potentially suffering from a mental illness, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions. Give us a call today or fill out the contact form for more information.