ADOLESCENTS &
YOUNG ADULTS

Though many of these signs / symptoms can also occur in adults, adolescence and early adulthood are extremely high risk periods for developing mental health disorders. Seventy-five percent of all first episodes of mental health disorders occur by the end of this period.  We need to be extra vigilant during this part of life.

Also, several critical disorders often first show signs during adolescence and young adulthood. These include DEPRESSION, PSYCHOSIS, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, and EATING DISORDERS. These disorders are associated with a higher incidence of suicide/mortality and deserve special attention.

ADOLESCENTS &
YOUNG ADULTS

Though many of these signs / symptoms can also occur in adults, adolescence and early adulthood are extremely high risk periods for developing mental health disorders. Seventy-five percent of all first episodes of mental health disorders occur by the end of this period.  We need to be extra vigilant during this part of life.

Also, several critical disorders often first show signs during adolescence and young adulthood. These include DEPRESSION, PSYCHOSIS, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, and EATING DISORDERS. These disorders are associated with a higher incidence of suicide/mortality and deserve special attention.

Signs that indicate a mental health emergency are in red.

These signs mean that an individual is at high risk of harming him/herself or others.
They should be considered especially serious if they are new, worsening, or related to a painful event, loss, or change.

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS IN ADOLESCENTS & YOUNG ADULTS

 (THIS IS NOT A COMPREHENSIVE LIST – SEE ALSO SIGNS ACROSS THE LIFESPAN)

  • Being a loner
  • Lack of friends
  • Extreme isolating
  • Demanding extreme privacy
  • Persistent “dark” mood
  • Frequent defiance of rules
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior – risky, promiscuous, self-endangering
  • Inability to maintain healthy friendships; “breaking up” with friends; endings of friendships are abrupt and/or dramatic
  • Excessive hiding of activity or communications
  • Running away from home
  • Failing in high school
  • Dropping out of high school
  • Difficulty making a plan for post high school
  • Extreme obsession especially with politics or religion
  • Adopting extreme positions on issues
  • Becoming radicalized
  • Written or posted manifestos expressing anger, vengeance, paranoia, extremism
  • Joining extremist groups, expressing extremist philosophy
  • Obsession with or obtaining guns or other weapons
  • Committing crimes
  • Going to prison – 15-20% of youth and adults in jails and prisons suffer from serious mental illnesses
  • Difficulty transitioning to adulthood
    • Failing in college
    • Not going to classes (and not telling parents they are no longer going to classes)
    • Great difficulty forming or executing a plan for the future
    • Inability to become and remain employed
    • Inability to move out of family house
  • Written or posted expressions of long-time anger or resentment toward a friend or loved one that is out-of-character or unexpected.
  • Threatening or committing violence against self or others
  • Experiencing psychosis: Ages 15-30 are the peak time for first episodes of psychosis. Psychosis presents in several ways:
    • Extreme paranoia
    • Hallucinations (seeing, feeling, or hearing things that are not real)
    • Delusions (strong beliefs that are irrational); Psychosis also affects people’s physical behavior

If someone is displaying signs of psychosis, this is an urgent mental health concern. Go to PSYCHOSIS to learn more about how to recognize this disorder.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW FEEL(S) SUICIDAL, go to the emergency room, call a mental health professional who can talk to you NOW, or call the police and say you have a mental health crisis, not a criminal situation!

In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

FIND INTERNATIONAL HOTLINES

Text HOME to The Crisis Textline at 741741. They are available 24/7 in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

See Also: HELPING SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDAL