Nearly one in every five Americans meets the criteria for a mental health or substance use disorder. A government agency review found nearly that 20 percent of young people experience an emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder. For the nation’s poor and those living in foster care, the risk for mental health problems is even greater. It is estimated that fifty percent of children and youth in the child welfare system have mental health disorders.
Understanding the risk and protective factors are one way to identify mental health problems before they take over a life. A risk factor is something that may help create a problem, while protective factors may help prevent them.
Common risk factors include family history, traumatic events, substance abuse and neglect. Protective factors include a person’s access to services, a healthy lifestyle, and supportive family relationships.
Mental wellness advocates believe that education and early intervention are the best way to affect the risk factors for young people and prevent suicide.
It’s the topic of Friday’s Smart Talk.
Appearing on the program are Sharon Engdahl, Executive Director of The American Mental Wellness Association and The Mental Wellness Awareness Association. The AMWA is the umbrella organization which unites individuals and organizations together as one voice for mental wellness in the United States. Also Michael Houser, Vice President of School Youth Programs with RC21X and MyBrain 365.