2017 Children’s Mental Health Report

Lorem Ipsum

A New Perspective on Adolescence

Adolescence is a time of unprecedented cognitive and physical growth and vivid experiences of new ideas, feelings, and ambitions. It’s a period of intense learning and development, but it is also a high-risk period for impulsive behavior, and for the onset of mental health and substance use disorders.

Brain changes are linked to both the exhilarating achievements of adolescence and its greatest dangers.

In this report, we summarize what we know about what’s happening in the brain during adolescence, and its impact on common teenage behaviors. We outline the mental health disorders that develop during this period. And we propose ways that parents, educators, and professionals can help teenagers make the most, and avoid the biggest risks, of these years.

Understanding why adolescence is such an exciting time, and what’s going on in their development, can help our kids understand both their strengths and their weaknesses and support their ability to make good choices. We can tell kids why exposure to drugs and alcohol can have serious, long-term effects; why certain mental health disorders show an increased onset at this time; what to look out for in their own thinking and behavior, and how to get help.

Since teenagers often have difficulty asking for and sticking with treatment for mental health disorders, this report includes a look at the most effective treatments for teens, and new interventions that are helping adolescents engage with the treatment process.

Evidence shows that when teens have positive expectations for treatment, they can be cooperative partners and get better. And school-based programs are proving successful in decreasing mental health stigma and increasing treatment-seeking behavior.


Embracing this new perspective on adolescence will help our teens thrive, including encouraging more kids to speak up and get help that can change their lives.

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD
President, Child Mind Institute