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Statistics on Mental Health & Young Adults
- The National Institute of Mental Health showed that, compared to people aged 26–49, young adults aged 18–25 had the most significant frequency of any mental illness (AMI – 25.8%) and serious mental illness (SMI – 7.5%).1
- As of 2019, emerging adults have the greatest rate of severe suicidal thoughts of any age group, according to the National Institute of Mental Health research.2
- Among young adults, suicide is the second-leading cause of death.3
- Young adults in their twenties were experiencing more prolonged episodes of depression at rates much higher than almost a decade before, according to research that included over 600,000 Americans.4 Still, they were also the least likely to seek mental health treatment.5
- In June 2020, 63% of young adults reported having depression or anxiety.6
- More than 2 in 5 of the 8.9 million young adults who reported having a mental illness in 2018 went untreated, and almost 9 in 10 of the 5.1 million who had a substance abuse problem did not receive treatment.7
- A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey reveals that nearly 1 in 4 young adults in the US received mental health treatment during the pandemic.8
- Globally, depression and anxiety have seen a “massive” rise, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). For example, in the first year of the pandemic, prevalence increased by 25%.9
- Young adults’ mental health issues have significantly increased over the past ten years.10
Common Reasons Young Adults Seek Therapy Treatment
There are many reasons why those aged 18-25 seek therapy for young adults, including:
- Anxiety and Depression: Anxiety and depression are among young adults’ most common mental health issues. These conditions can significantly impact a person’s mood, energy, and motivation. They can also make it challenging to maintain healthy relationships and fulfill personal goals.
- Relationship Issues: Young adults may struggle with romantic relationships, family conflicts, or problems with friends. Young adult counseling can help individuals learn effective communication skills, navigate conflicts, and develop healthy relationships.
- Identity Issues: Many young adults are still exploring their identity, which can involve questions about sexuality, gender, religion, and culture. Counseling for young adults can provide a safe space to explore these issues and gain greater self-awareness and self-acceptance.
- Trauma and Abuse: Young adults may have experienced traumatic events or abuse in their childhood or adolescence, which can have a lasting impact on their mental health. Therapy can help individuals process these experiences and develop coping skills to manage symptoms.
- Substance Abuse and Addiction: Substance abuse and addiction are prevalent among young adults, and therapy can effectively manage these issues.
- Life Transitions: Those ages 18-25 often experience significant adult life transitions, such as moving away from home, graduating high school or college, starting college or a new job, or entering a committed relationship. These transitions can be challenging, and therapy for young adults can provide support and guidance during these times of change.
Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.
What Happens in Therapy for Young Adults?
The exact nature of therapy for young adults will depend on your specific needs and goals. However, here are some common steps that may happen in young adult therapy after you’ve undergone a phone consultation and decided on a treatment provider:
- Assessment: The therapist will typically begin by conducting an evaluation to understand your current mental health status and history. This may involve discussing symptoms, past experiences, family background, and other relevant information.
- Goal-Setting: Once the therapist has a better understanding of your needs, they will work with you to set specific goals for therapy. These goals may relate to managing symptoms, improving relationships, increasing self-awareness, or achieving personal growth.
- Evidence-Based Therapy: The therapist will use evidence-based treatments that effectively treat your specific issues. These treatments may include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, or other therapy forms tailored to the individual’s needs.
- In addition, medications are sometimes involved in young adult counseling, especially if you’re dealing with a mental health condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Medications can be used in combination with talk therapy to manage symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
- Developing Coping Strategies: The therapist will work with you to develop coping strategies to manage symptoms and navigate unique challenges. This may involve learning relaxation techniques, developing problem-solving skills, or building a support network.
- Building Self-Awareness: Therapy can help you better understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can help you make positive changes, leading to a greater sense of self-worth.
- Working Through Trauma: If you’ve experienced trauma or abuse, the therapist will work with you to process these experiences in a safe and supportive environment. This may involve techniques like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT).
- Building Positive Relationships: Therapy can help you improve your communication skills and develop healthier relationships with others, particularly if you’re struggling with social anxiety, relationship problems, or family conflicts.
Things to Consider When Seeking Therapy for Young Adults
If you are a young adult seeking therapy, here are some things to consider:
- Goals: Consider what you hope to achieve through therapy, such as managing symptoms of depression or anxiety, improving relationships, or developing coping skills. This can help you choose a therapist specializing in the areas you want to work on.
- Credentials: Make sure you find licensed therapists who have the appropriate counseling credentials. In addition, ensure that the therapist has experience treating your particular issue(s). This can give you confidence that you are receiving care from a qualified professional.
- For example, In Tennessee, psychologists are required to have the following education and training:11
- A doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited institution
- Completion of an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited internship
- Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
- Completion of two years of supervised professional experience
- Pass the Tennessee Jurisprudence exam
- For example, In Tennessee, psychologists are required to have the following education and training:11
- Compatibility: It’s essential to find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to and trust. This can help you build a solid therapeutic relationship and progress toward your goals. According to American Psychological Association research, a solid therapeutic alliance is necessary for patients to engage in, stay in, and benefit from therapy.12
- Cost: Therapy can be expensive, so it’s important to consider the cost of treatment and whether your insurance covers it or if you’ll need to pay out of pocket.
- Accessibility: Consider the location and hours of the therapist’s office. Locating mental health treatment centers offering virtual appointments can ensure you attend therapy sessions consistently and easily.
- Treatment Approach: There are many different therapy approaches, so consider which approach may work best for you. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing negative thought patterns, while psychodynamic therapy focuses on exploring unconscious behavior patterns.
- Stigma: Unfortunately, there is still some stigma associated with seeking therapy. It’s important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength and that many people benefit from treatment.
Additionally, it’s common to resist opening up and having faith in the therapeutic process in the first few weeks of therapy. However, if you frequently feel criticized and misunderstood, your therapist seems easily distracted, or your connection with them is not equal or collaborative, they might not be a good fit for you, and you should look for another one.
Benefits of Therapy for Young Adults
There are several ways in which therapy for young adults can be a valuable tool, including, but not limited to, the following:13
- Improved mental health: Young adult therapy can help you manage symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression and develop coping skills for difficult emotions and stress management.
- Better relationships: Therapy can help you develop stronger, healthier relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners by improving communication skills and emotional regulation.
- Increased self-awareness: You may gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your experiences, leading to increased self-esteem, confidence, and a stronger sense of identity.
- Career and academic support: Therapy for young adults can help you to navigate career and academic decisions by providing guidance and support for setting goals, developing skills, and managing stress related to school or work.
- Healthy lifestyle changes: Young adult counseling can help you develop healthy habits related to diet, exercise, sleep, and substance use, which can improve overall physical and mental health.
Behavioral Health Resources for Young Adults
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Dial 988 or call 1-800-273-TALK
- Center for Young Women’s Health and Young Men’s Health – These websites offer several mental health resources, covering topics like test anxiety, depression, bullying, and eating disorders.
- Go Ask Alice! – This question-and-answer website, targeted at young adulthood, has a sizable collection of queries concerning various mental health-related worries.
- National Alliance on Mental Health
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741
- Active Minds – This leading nonprofit enables young adults to talk freely about mental health and works to inform people and encourage treatment.
- “Mental Illness.” National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.
- “Suicide.” National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.
- “Statistics – Young Adult Mental Health Stats and Figures.” Active Minds, 14 Nov. 2022, www.activeminds.org/about-mental-health/statistics.
- Brueck, Hilary. “Depression Among Gen Z Is Skyrocketing — a Troubling Mental-health Trend That Could Affect the Rest of Their Lives.” Business Insider, 20 May 2021, www.businessinsider.com/depression-rates-by-age-young-people-2019-3.
- Thielking, Megan. “Facing a Broken Mental Health System, Many U.S. Teens Fall off a Dangerous ‘Cliff’ in Their Care.” STAT, 17 June 2020, www.statnews.com/2020/06/17/cliff-teens-mental-health-transition-adulthood.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Mark É. Czeisler, et al. “Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6932a1-H.pdf.
- “Mental Illness and Substance Use in Young Adults.” SAMHSA, www.samhsa.gov/young-adults.
- McPhillips, Deidre. “Nearly 1 in 4 Young Adults in US Treated for Mental Health During Pandemic, CDC Survey Finds.” CNN, 7 Sept. 2022, www.cnn.com/2022/09/07/health/mental-health-treatment-pandemic/index.html.
- “COVID-19 Pandemic Triggers 25% Increase in Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression Worldwide.” World Health Organization: WHO, 2 Mar. 2022, www.who.int/news/item/02-03-2022-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-in-prevalence-of-anxiety-and-depression-worldwide.
- “Mental Health Issues Increased Significantly in Young Adults Over Last Decade.” https://www.apa.org, 14 Mar. 2019, www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2019/03/mental-health-adults.
- “Tennessee, TN: Psychology License to Become a Certified Psychologist – Human Services Edu.” Human Services Edu, www.humanservicesedu.org/tennessee-psychology-requirements.
- DeAngelis, Tori. “Better Relationships With Patients Lead to Better Outcomes.” American Psychological Association, Nov. 2019, www.apa.org/monitor/2019/11/ce-corner-relationships.
- Lindbergh, Sara. “Benefits and Options for Therapy.” Healthline, 23 Oct. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-therapy#individual.
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
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