Adolescent Heath and our choices

Health Watch

THE vast majority of youths with mental illness do well in their chosen career while managing their mental illness.
Some youths will choose to disclose their mental illness to get support from loved ones.
Others may choose not to disclose their illness if they feel they do not require any parental support or fear an opposing reaction.
We are a society that cares for one and another as individuals and as a family living in PNG.
Providing care for a family member is an old unwritten law of kindness, love, and loyalty.
Care giving has its fair share of stresses: changes in the family dynamics, household disruption, financial pressure, and the sheer amount of work involved.

  • Investing in adolescent health and development

Healthy adolescents produce benefits for both the adolescent and the community they represent. Adolescence brings the highest risks of illness and death from certain causes, including accidents and injuries, early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Furthermore, lifestyle diseases are responsible for 60 per cent of illness and 70 per cent of death globally.
A lot of these lifestyle – smoking, risky sexual behaviour, alcohol and drug dependency, etc… – have their roots in adolescence.
Avoiding risky behaviour and supporting healthy choices among adolescents can, therefore, produce positive health outcomes, not just during adolescence, but also during adulthood.
Healthy and developed adolescents have a better chance of becoming healthy, responsible and productive adults, leading to greater skills, fewer work days lost to illness, longer working lives and increased output and progress.

  • Investing in adolescents promotes fairness and community integrity.

Adolescents’ health needs are simply different from those of other age group.
They experience puberty, rapid emotional development, increasing freedom and a range of new choices.
They live in varying situations and have different needs. For many of them, poverty and gender discriminations and barriers to meeting their needs, protecting their rights and fulfilling their potential.
An adolescent health and development policy is thus necessary, therefore, to thoroughly analyses the various situations and needs of all adolescents and identify suitable responses and resources.

Next week’s edition – Protecting the rights of adolescents