Mental Health and Teenagers

  • Four out of the ten leading causes of disability in developed countries are mental illnesses.
  • Common mental health problems among children and adolescents include depression, anxiety, disruptive behaviour disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.), eating disorders, and developmental disorders.
  • 15 to 20% of youth suffer some mental health issue; five percent suffer extreme impairment. Mental health issues are one of the most common reasons that children visit a family doctor.
  • Mental health is a community responsibility. Coaches are members of the community who can address this issue directly.

Food Supply

  • Those who suffer from mental illness are twice as likely to have food security issues as healthy peers.
  • Food selection can influence physical and mental health. Healthy choices should be emphasized in high school and athletics.

Nutrition and Mental Health

  • Mental illness and treatment can lead to a depressed appetite, which leads to a slower rate of weight gain and growth.
  • Nutritional interventions can prevent or decrease the severity of adverse effects of medications


  • Signs and symptoms of depression in teenagers are often misunderstood as “mood swings” and not addressed. Symptoms that persist for more than two weeks should be treated as depression.
  • 8.3% of adolescents suffer from depression.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies: Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, and magnesium deficiencies.


  • Teenager anxiety may increase as a result of competitive anxiety.
  • Children and youth may lack the coping skills to handle stressful situations.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies: Caffeine consumption can precipitate or exaggerate the symptoms of anxiety attacks

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

  • Those who suffer from A.D.H.D., including adolescents, may suffer from a deficiency of dopamine (a neurotransmitter in the brain which controls pleasure).
  • This may lead individuals to indulge in destructive addictive behaviour.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies: vitamins A, B-1, B-3, folate, C, and D, and K and zinc, magnesium and iron.



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