The social context of youth mental health

Authored by: Evelina Landstedt , Julia Coffey

Routledge Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138804357
eBook ISBN: 9781315753058
Adobe ISBN: 9781317619895


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Youth mental health is now recognised as a central issue of concern globally; for young people themselves, their families and society as a whole. According to the World Health Organization data on the European region, mental health and behavioural disorders, primarily depression and anxiety, represent 30 per cent of the total burden of disease in young people (age 15–29 years) (WHO 2012). Despite two decades of reports calling for an increased focus on the mental health status of youth and young people in Western countries, a number of crucial gaps and questions remain. Though mental health is known to need urgent attention from all levels of society in the forms of government, policy and community approaches, significant gaps remain regarding the complex social factors which contribute to mental health and ill health. In this chapter, we provide a brief overview of existing evidence relating to the known trends in youth mental health and a discussion on how the mental wellbeing of young people must be understood in reference to the social, cultural and economic circumstances in which young people live.

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