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Mental Health Issues in Boys (An Overview)

Mental Health Issues in Boys (An Overview) | A Chronic Voice

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When it comes to mental health in America, there are a lot of areas which are cause for concern. In particular, mental health problems in teenagers are a rapidly growing problem. Teens these days have to deal with a lot in terms of school and extracurricular activities. In addition, they must contend with modern issues such as the overuse of social media and the anxiety which comes along with always being connected to their peers.

However, when it comes to teenage boys’ mental health, often there is not much which is being said. For some reason, the focus seems to be more on female mental health in America, and it seems as though oftentimes boys are overlooked. While it’s true that teenage girls are typically more likely to deal with mental health issues than boys, there is still much to be said about the mental health of teen boys in America.

In this article, we will look into the challenges that teenage boys are facing and the complex issues that boys have to deal with.

What Challenges Are Teenage Boys Facing?

Teenage boys are facing many challenges in modern society. There are many reasons that they can end up being troubled. Some of the most prevalent things that your teen boy may be dealing with are:

  1. Bullying:
    Bullying is among the top issues for teenage boys. It has shifted from being something that can only occur while in school. Now, due to the fact that teens are often connected with their peers constantly through the use of cell phones and social media, bullying can happen at any time. Many teenage boys are dealing with constant bullying from their classmates, and this can have a huge effect on their self esteem and overall mental health.
  2. Academic Pressures:
    One of the other issues that boys in America are facing are academic challenges. Oftentimes, boys may find the classroom setting more difficult than girls due to their high level of energy. This can lead to them becoming unfocused and even potentially dropping out of school. Teenage boys who are dealing with academic stress have a much higher chance of developing other issues, such as generalized anxiety or depression.
  3. Athletic Pressure:
    In addition to concerns about academia, teenage boys often have to also deal with the pressure of outside activities. While both boys and girls participate in sports, boys are more likely to be using their athleticism to secure a placement at a Division I university when they graduate. Thus, there can be immense pressure on them to perform well, and this can lead to high levels of stress.
  4. Concerns About Body Image:
    While this is something which is often prescribed specifically to teenage girls, boys can also deal with extreme body image issues. In particular, boys often see themselves as being too thin or overweight. They may also feel as though they’re too short, or perhaps they may feel as though they’re not masculine enough because they can’t grow facial hair. There are many issues that teenage boys have to deal with when it comes to body image, and all of them can be damaging to boys’ self esteem and overall mental health.
  5. Substance Abuse:
    In addition, substance abuse is a major issue amongst teenage boys. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 47% of twelfth grade boys, 34% of tenth grade boys, and 16% of eighth grade boys surveyed reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. This is a huge percentage of the underage population, which is why substance abuse is one of the main concerns facing young boys today. Substance abuse can lead to other things such as poor decision making or aggressive behavior, which can lead boys into trouble. In addition, substance abuse can lead to depression or other mental health issues.

What Mental Health Issues Are Teen Boys Dealing With?
It can be seen that there are many issues that teenage boys are contending with these days. As a result, mental health issues are a major problem. They can range from things like generalized anxiety disorder all the way to suicidal thoughts and attempts. It’s important to understand the most common mental health issues that teen boys are dealing with so that you can watch for warning signs and ensure you’re supporting the teen in your life. Some of the most prevalent mental health issues for teenage boys are:

  1. Depression:
    In teenage boys, major depressive disorder is a significant problem. According to a repost posted by Blue Cross Blue Shield shows that between 2013 and 2016, the most dramatic rise in major depression diagnosis was among those under 35 years of age. Specifically, depression in teenage boys was found to have increased by 47% in that time period.
  2. ADHD:
    Boys are much more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than girls, and they are often diagnosed at a young age. This can cause teenage boys to feel restless, have trouble concentrating, and is characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
    Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is another common problem for teenage boys. They often deal with many pressures as discussed above, so they may develop anxiety as a result. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26.1% of adolescent boys deal with an anxiety disorder each year, and that number is on the rise.

Many teenage boys deal with mental health issues. Unfortunately, their troubles are often overlooked as they are encouraged to be strong and simply work their way through their issues. However, mental health concerns are not something which can be simply wished away. They must be dealt with in a comprehensive manner in order to ensure that things are being taken care of and are not allowed to get worse.

If you notice that your teen is acting oddly or not taking care of themselves, it’s important to reach out to a professional in order to see what options you have for potential treatment. Therapy, medication, and residential treatment facilities are all valid options for helping teen boys dealing with mental health issues. If you suspect the teen in your life isn’t functioning as normal, be sure to talk to them about what they’re experiencing and then proceed to consult with professionals in order to get them the best help possible.

This list is just a rough guide, and nothing in this review should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.

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Mental Health Issues in Boys (An Overview)

8 comments

  • Great article, Sheryl. I come from a family of teachers and was a teacher at one point myself. Knowing their perspective and from my own observations, boys are under so much pressure these days. It’s always overlooked and very rarely addressed. So sad. I hope your article brings more awareness to this issue.

    • Yes, Carrie! Boys are under so much pressure from society and in school amongst their peers from a certain perspective. It really needs to be addressed, stigma needs to be broken, and they need to feel okay to speak up.

  • Thank you for sharing this thoughtful post, so often boys (and mens) mental health is overlooked and it is so important that we raise awareness of these issues x

    • Yes indeed! More awareness is needed about boys and teenage mental health. School systems should definitely train their teachers, and fellow classmates should be taught to understand.

  • “teenage boys often have to also deal with the pressure of outside activities.” – this reminds of school time in London. Some boys from my class weren’t into sports so they were bullied and some who weren’t very good at it were also made fun of – it also wasn’t very in-your-face bullying there were subtle digs at the person who wasn’t so good at sport but you would feel the pinch of those words. Thankfully, we were encouraged one-on-one counselling with the school counsellor and our Head of Year. We also had very approachable teachers to help any of us get through our issues and some of those boys would seek out these options while others were encouraged to do so. But I genuinely feel that addressing such issues is extremely important and addressing them early can do the mind a world of good. Thank you so much for this post – extremely important to speak about this Sheryl.

    • That is indeed, terrible especially for boys and mental health, and how they grow up eventually. I am glad you had approachable teachers, they really are gems who play a huge influence on children. I know some of my teachers impacted me permanently in positive ways, and others negatively.

  • This is such an important issue. A friend of mine works in mental health in schools, and she always says that it is very overlooked in boys, but such an increasing issue. We can only hope there is more awareness and help given.

    • Agreed, Claire. Not just for boys, but boys are in particular, more vulnerable in that sense due to stigma and expectations and how they react emotionally and mentally.

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