SPEECH - TEENAGE MENTAL ILLNESS. Autism Disorder. Schizophrenia Disorder. Bipolar Disorder. Panic Disorder. Anxiety Disorder. Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactivity Disorder. Eating Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder. Teenage Disorder. Rejected, ignored, and tragically misunderstood, teenagers affected by a form of mental illness are so often passed off as ‘seeking attention’ or a ‘temporary ﬂux of hormones’, when in sad reality they form no small minority. About 1 in 5 of New Zealand teenagers suffer from one or more mental health disorders, with a further, staggering 2 in 3 teens meeting most of the criteria to be diagnosed with one. These worrying statistics only continue to rise. Firstly, it must be stated that mental illness can be deﬁned as various conditions characterized by an impairment of an individual's normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning, or simply, any disease of the mind. Furthermore, to fully understand teenage mental illness and it’s immediate and eventual consequences, one must look at the causes or catalysts of it’s inception in the affected individual. There are a number of biological factors that can lead to a dysfunction in mental health. Including genetics, infections, brain traumas, prenatal damage, poor nutrition and substance abuse or exposure. However, these factors do not necessarily develop the illness, which is typically triggered by a negative psychological inﬂuence, such as severe emotional trauma suffered in childhood, such as physical or sexual abuse, an important early loss of a parent or sibling, parental neglect or poor social abilities leading to exclusion or bullying, and social expectations and the pressure to conform. Whilst the symptoms that affected teenagers experience will naturally vary greatly, the social consequences they will face are common to all. It is basic teenage nature to exclude those who are different, without stopping to consider why. This can result in serious, damaging harassment, only further worsening the problem at hand. A number of common misconceptions surround mental illness, only worsen an affected teenagers social position. For example, the myth that people with a mental illness are psycho or dangerous, and have to be locked away, when in fact, this is very wrong, it must be taken into consideration that many individuals with a mental illness can have great difﬁculty coping with day-to-day living, and when in great distress, such individuals are at greater risk of harming themselves than others, raising the dark topic of self harm and suicide.
3 young adults commit suicide every week in New Zealand. 158 in 2012 alone. And self harm, a strangely glamorized and dangerous habit, is becoming increasingly popular among the youth of both genders,