assurance and confidence; whereas maladaptive progression leads to role confusion andoften to identification with a negative or deviant group.
During the last 20 years, adolescence is reported as the only age group to experience anincrease in mortality rates.
report that the threats to teenagers'health are largely related to psychosocial factors. Adolescents have a significantly higher suicide rate when compared with the general population, and the rates have risenthroughout the past two decades.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongadolescents, and there are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted adolescent suicides to eachcompleted adolescent suicide.
Adolescents cope with multiple crises associated with identity, peer pressures, physicalchanges, desire for independence, and self-doubt.
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Adolescent years are a time of rapid growth and change that can be both challenging and confusing and oftenemotionally unstable. Adolescents' emotional problems are often exhibited as poor academic performance, intense teen-parent conflicts, and the inability to handle peer pressures.
Yet, despite the challenges and attacks on their well-being, the number of adolescents entering the healthcare system is fewer than that of any other age group.
reported on data from a recent analysis of 3 national healthcare studiesinvolving more than 46,000 children and adolescents. The data indicate that largenumbers of these young people, who had concerns ranging from behavioral problems todepression and suicidal illnesses, are not being identified nor treated by the healthcaresystem.
Sorely in need of services, adolescents either cannot or will not seek treatment.
Role of Schools In Offering Mental Health Services
The public school setting is a logical point of access for healthcare services.
The schoolis probably the most important and best positioned institution to improve a community'soverall healthcare, including mental health. In a 1999 interview with a newscorrespondent, then Surgeon General David Satcher stated that public schools should betapped to identify more children with mental health problems and get them into treatmentif needed.
The primary goal of the school system is to educate a community's youth. However, inaddition to academic expectations, the educational system influences and shapes students'social knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors.
Schools offer a familiar setting that isgenerally viewed as a safe place. School personnel are usually perceived as reliable andavailable to provide guidance and support. This center of security is particularlyimportant to adolescents who are skeptical of nonschool agencies and unfamiliar people.
'Because learning and wellness are inextricably linked, a strategy that uniteseducation and health care programs has the potential to improve contemporary problems.'
The public school offers the attractive combination of factors that createsan environment that is well suited for providing comprehensive behavioral healthcareservices. Primary prevention programs, such as alcohol and substance abuse education,stress management, problem-solving techniques, peer counseling, and life-skills classes,can make a difference in providing adolescents with coping skills.