(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Heading into the new year, mental health advocates shared the importance of raising awareness of well-being among the younger generation.
“I think the bottom line is that there is less stigma around mental health treatments,” said Rachel Earles, medical science director at Myriad Genetics. “I think for generations it was kind of in the shadows, but now people want to talk about it more. Seeking treatment.”
When it comes to prioritizing mental health, Earls explained why it’s important.
“It has long been believed that mental health is something we can control and that it is a separate system from the rest of the body.” am.”
Earls said there are several factors that can affect the well-being of younger generations.
“There are many factors that are unique to Gen Z, and the pandemic is one of them,” said Earls. “The social media flood is like the world is changing, making it difficult to prioritize mental health.”
Aubree Adams, executive director of Every Brain Matters, shared what makes us aware of the effects of drugs on mental health.
“When my son was 15 years old in Pueblo, dabbing marijuana made him irrational, paranoid, distressed, and attempted to take his life,” Adams said. “Thank God he survived, but I am in contact with many families whose children have not survived.”
Every Brain Matters is a non-profit organization that works to educate about the dangers of marijuana and the growing drug culture.
“We are in the midst of a national mental health crisis, and the mental health crisis is multifaceted,” said Ken Finn, M.D. So we have COVID, we have social media, and all these factors play into it. ”
Finn elaborated on the effects of drugs on the mental health of young people.
“But because the brain is still developing, some people who use it, especially young people, will have what is called persistent psychosis.” It can last for months.”
Every Brain Matters provides free educational resources available online.
Another challenge in helping young people with mental health is diagnosis and treatment.
“One of the things that adds complexity to this is that much of our mental health is now being treated by primary care clinicians,” said Earls. “Getting into a mental health professional typically requires a referral process, which means that primary care providers have a great deal of responsibility in detecting and diagnosing the early symptoms of mental illness.”
To help health care providers support an individual’s mental health, Earls recommended pharmacogenetic testing.
Adams has spent the past four years as a host mom to recovering adolescents and shared how she’s seen first-hand the impact drugs have on adolescents’ mental health.
“These teens are severely depressed and they need not only professionals but a whole team of friends and family to surround them and make sure they are safe until their brains recover.” “And some people say it takes years to heal.”