According to a WHO Report, traffic injuries on the road, HIV/AIDS and more alarmingly, suicide are topping the list of causes for the death of adolescents. The same report says that teen depression is the major reason for the illness as well as the disability of many young people.
Report based on reviews of policies of several countries
The report is said to be based on reviews of the health policies of 109 countries. The authors of the report say that they have studied various published evidences and gathered information from different types of consultations with adolescents as well as children throughout the world. Children between 10 years and 19 years were involved in these consultations.
This is the first time that an agency of the UN is bringing out a report that contains all the WHO guidance that covers completely all the health issues of teenagers. All the health issues including mental issues, problems related to reproductive health, sexual-related issues, issues due to violence, HIV and use of substances like drugs, alcohol and tobacco, etc. are covered in this report.
Most of the Deaths could have been avoided
The findings contained in the report are shocking because among the one-billion adolescent population, a whopping 1.3 million young people died during 2012 and the unfortunate fact is that had people taken timely action or given timely treatment to them, they could have avoided these deaths.
Toll of mental health issues too big to ignore
Further, the toll of mental health issues is quite big according to the report. Among the mental health issues, unipolar-depressive-disorders account for a loss of about 14 million DALYS or disability-adjusted-life-years in 2012 in youngsters between the age of 10 and 19. Road injuries was the second and in it, the loss of DALYs was 12 million. According to WHO, DALY is “one lost year of healthy life.”
The report continues to point out that teen depression is a major cause for a number of illnesses as well as disabilities that may not only harm these young people but may kill them as well. The third cause for the death of teenagers was self-harm and nearly, 120,000 deaths occurred due to this in 2012.
Other causes of death of teenagers
In addition to road injury, self-harm, etc., teenagers died of HIV/AIDS, interpersonal violence, diarrhea, drowning, epilepsy and meningitis. Some of the key factors that resulted in illness and teenage disability are anemia, anxiety disorders, self-harm, etc.
Several studies that have been used as citations in this report reveal that in more than 50 percent of teens who are affected by teen depression, the symptoms start to show at the age of 14.
WHO emphatically says,”If adolescents with mental health problems get the care they need, this can prevent deaths and avoid suffering throughout lives.”
The report also points out that the death rate is 3 times more in boys than in girls.
According to WHO, authorities should put in place road-safety regulations and also “increasing access to reliable and safe public transport” to “reduce road traffic injuries among adolescents.”
The organization elaborates the benefits of physical exercise in helping in teenage health and hence, they highly recommend this. Some of the recent data reveal that not even 25 percent of adolescents do their regular exercises and that 75 percent of teenagers are obese.
In short, it is evident from the report that teen depression is a major cause for illness in adolescents.