Mental Health and Well-being

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps to determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Biological factors, life experiences, and environments all contribute to mental health problems.


  •  1 In 5 children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness.
  • 50% of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14
  • 75% of all chronic mental illness begins by age 24

National Trends:

Youth overall are resilient and healthy. There are however, youth experiencing mental health problems. Depression and anxiety are prevalent across the nation and suicide has become an epidemic.  Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 in the U.S .  90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

Youth experience risk and protective factors that either increase or decrease the likelihood of developing a mental health problem.

Risk factors may include:

  • lack of behavioral self-control/regulation (individual level)
  • adverse childhood experiences, like child abuse/maltreatment (family level)
  • peer rejection (community level)

Protective factors include:

  • mastery of project and life skills (individual level)
  • consistent discipline (family level)
  • positive youth-adult relationship (community level)

Caring adults, such as youth development professionals and programs are protective factors for youth.

Not all youth can avoid developing a mental health disorder.  Some will have short-term experiences and some will live long-term with mental health problems.  Youth development professionals can learn how to be there for these youth by increasing their knowledge of mental illness.

Data and Information obtained from:


Co – Chairs 

Zuri Garcia

Maren Voss