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Health & wellbeing

Today's youth are more adept at recognizing signs of mental distress in themselves and their peers, leading to a more open conversation about mental health than in previous generations, according to experts.

The rise in mental health issues among young people is influenced by various factors, with global insecurity being a significant challenge.

Many young individuals visiting healthcare professionals express uncertainty and anxiety about their future. Concerns about climate change, rapidly changing job markets, epidemics, and wars cast significant shadows on the future of young individuals, especially when adults seem to lack effective ways to address these crises, stated psychologist Katri Laine from Terveystalo.

Social relationships, self-esteem, and social media-induced anxieties are commonly discussed topics during consultations. The pervasive use of social media has been linked to increased mental distress among adolescents, adding to their worries.

A positive trend observed is the willingness of young people to talk about mental health issues openly, a marked improvement from the past.

Katri Laine, with extensive experience working with young people, highlighted the importance of low-threshold avenues for discussion. In the midst of information overload, distinguishing between normal teenage experiences and concerning symptoms can be challenging.

"The key is to provide accessible channels for young people to talk about their concerns. Schools and well-being services vary in their resources for assisting young individuals. Thus, diverse low-threshold discussion options are needed. Mental health professionals' active presence on social media platforms is crucial too," emphasized Laine.

Laine also urged parents to maintain open communication with their children, encouraging them to initiate contact rather than waiting for their children to do so. Creating an atmosphere where young individuals feel valued and heard is essential, she added.

Addressing boundaries, Laine emphasized the importance of dialogue between adults and teenagers. Setting limits, she stressed, should be done through open discussions, allowing young people to express their thoughts and feelings. Collaborative problem-solving can lead to constructive solutions in challenging situations.

As society navigates these complex issues, fostering a supportive environment and encouraging dialogue could be pivotal in ensuring the mental well-being of the younger generation.