Mental Health Conditions

Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults, and they should not be overlooked. Some conditions can lead to serious concerns such as suicidal thoughts and fatal actions. Mental health conditions are treatable with therapy, medication, and other methods.

1 in 5 lives with a mental health condition — half develop the condition by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.

If you see or hear signs that a teen you know is in crisis and/or struggling, learn what to do.

Need Help Now?

Call or text 988. If you are struggling with your own mental health, you are not alone. Call the hotline for immediate support.

  • Personal or family history of mental conditions
  • Major life changes, trauma, or stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Certain physical illnesses and medications

If you know someone who may be experiencing a mental disorder, here are some things you can do to help.

  • Promote healthy behaviors, including physical activity, good nutrition, and sleep
  • Watch for signs and symptoms of depression
  • Keep a record of concerning behaviors
  • Make an appointment with my teen’s healthcare provider if I notice signs and symptoms lasting longer than two weeks.
  • Follow up with mental health care provider and help my teen follow recommendations.
  • Find a support system (e.g. faith community, neighbors, counselor)

Common Mental Health Conditions & Symptoms/Signs

Anxiety Disorders

These can include generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders with panic attacks, social anxiety disorders, and phobia-related disorders.

  • Feelings of excessive worry, uneasiness and fear
  • Feelings of impending doom or being out of control
  • Frustration, anger, and increased irritability
  • Inability to concentrate and/or poor memory
  • Struggling to sleep or to stay asleep
  • Common headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or other unexplained pains
  • Pounding/racing heart or chest pain
  • Excessive sweating when nervous
  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Feeling self-conscious or fear of being judged


While this disorder is common, it should not be taken lightly. This can change how you think, feel and are able to manage daily activities.

    • Inability to concentrate and/or poor memory
    • Withdrawal from friends/family and activities
    • Social Isolation
    • Self-harm behaviors
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • Sadness and hopelessness
    • Frustration, anger, and increased irritability
    • Feelings that things will never get better
    • Change in performance in school and sports/activities
    • Change in sleep habits and/or appetite
    • Not completing activities of daily living (personal care, clean clothes, etc.)

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

People with ADHD show patterns of inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity. They may seem erratic, “lazy,” or impulsive to someone without the disorder. This often affects every aspect of your life: social, financial, professional and personal.

  • Inattention
    • Struggling to listen and process information when spoken to
    • Losing necessary items like keys or homework
    • Avoiding tasks that require focus — homework, cleaning, etc.
  • Hyperactivity or Impulsivity
    • Inability to sit still
    • Feeling restless
    • Constantly in motion
    • Talking excessively or quickly
    • Tendency to interrupt others or struggling to wait for their turn
    • Making impulsive decisions

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders vary and can be fatal if not treated. These are the most obvious symptoms of just two common eating disorders, but more symptoms can develop over time.

    • Anorexia Nervosa — Restrictive or Binge-Purge Subtypes
      • Extreme food restriction
      • Extreme thinness and relentless pursuit of an unhealthy thinness
      • Body dysmorphia (thinking you are heavier or have more fat than you do)
    • Bulimia Nervosa
      • Eating unusually large amounts of food frequently and feeling little or no control over these episodes
      • Severe dehydration from purging fluids
      • Often followed by counteractions such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, fasting, etc.

Learn more from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.


All statements about suicide need to be taken seriously and are a reason to immediately alert a health care provider or seek emergency help.