The Westside Teen Clinic focuses on the development of mental health habits—including coping, resilience and good judgment— to help adolescents achieve overall well-being and set the stage for positive mental health in adulthood. Although mood swings are common during adolescence, approximately one in five adolescents has a diagnosable mental disorder, such as depression and/or “acting out” conditions that can include extremely defiant behavior.
Less than half of the adolescents who need mental health care receive treatment. A social stigma continues to surround mental health disorders, and mental health care is frequently difficult to access. Approximately one out of five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder. Warning signs aren’t always obvious, but more common symptoms include persistent irritability, anger, or social withdrawal, as well as major changes in appetite or sleep. Mental health disorders can disrupt school performance, harm relationships, and lead to suicide (the third leading cause of death among adolescents). Unfortunately, an ongoing stigma regarding mental health disorders inhibits some adolescents and their families from seeking help. Effective treatments for mental health disorders, especially if they begin soon after symptoms appear, can help reduce its impact on an adolescent’s life.