Mental illness in adolescents is a serious risk and concern. I had heard more reports of adolescents committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide, especially during the pandemic. In this discussion, I will review an article written by Farley, Holly R. EdD, RN, who explored the seriousness of this issue in the US and how nurses can identify the risk and intervene effectively (Farley, 2020). According to Farley, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 and 24, with 30% of adolescents reporting symptoms of depression each year, and from 2007 to 2015 the numbers of emergency department visits for suicidal ideations, attempts, and death increased 92% (2020).
Adolescents are vulnerable to risk factors due to their stage of development, the need to rely on peers and family for support, stress, peer pressure, desire for greater autonomy, sexual identity exploration, and the increased use of technology such as social media and internet. They are even at greater risk if facing poor living conditions, bullying and cyberbullying, and sexual and substance abuse (Farley, 2020). Farley emphasized the importance of nurses’ role in identifying and finding adolescents with risks, because nurses interact with this age group more than healthcare providers in many different settings, such as schools, community health settings, clinics, and EDs (2020). Nurses are in the front line to assess and interact with adolescents and their families, learn about family history of mental illness and family dynamics, and provide education and resources.
The article raised awareness of mental health issues in adolescents in the US. It provided nurses with a great resource on how to assess risk in adolescents, what symptoms to look for, questions to ask, symptoms for when further evaluation is needed, and how nurses can provide interventions and send for follow-up. The article also provided mental health resources, tools, and checklists that are helpful to assess and support individuals at risk or with mental illness.