How Mental Health Impacts Young Adult Development

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What age is a person a young adult?

An estimated 20 percent of young adults reported experiencing a mental illness within the past year, according to Resources to Recovery.​​​1 While doctors may define young adulthood at different age ranges, a common range for young adulthood is 18 to 25. This is the time when a person transitions from being an adolescent and begins experiencing life as an adult. Mental illness can occur due to a variety of reasons, but help is available. 

What mental health issues appear as a young adult?

According to an article in the journal Clinical Medicine, mental health issues are most likely to be their worst in adolescence and early adulthood. An estimated 6 to 12 percent of young adults struggle with a serious mental health condition, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to the University of Massachusetts. ​​​3

These serious mental illnesses are ones that a person deals with over a lifetime. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an estimated 75 percent of them develop by the time a person is age 24. ​​​4

75% of Mental Illnesses Appear Before the Age of 25 

Serious mental illnesses aren’t the only mental health problems a young adult can experience. Increasing responsibilities, developing relationships, and the burdens of finding their path in life. These can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and worry.

Sometimes depression can be too much for a person to bear. This may be why suicide is a leading cause of death among those ages 15 to 24 years old, according to an article in the journal Clinical Medicine.​​​3 Young adults may also engage in self-harm behaviors, this includes eating disorders and cutting.

Young adult and medical treatment

Young adults should not be afraid to seek medical treatment for their feelings or if they start to experience changes in their thoughts that are hard for them to control. Sometimes, it’s hard for a young person to admit they have a problem. Also, because young people appear so healthy to the outside world, it’s hard for those around them to accept that they have another kind of illness – a mental illness.​​​3 

Doctors can treat mental illness just as they can treat physical ones. They can offer therapy, to help a young person express their feelings and better learn how to deal with stress and anxiety. Sometimes, a young person who struggles with problems such as depression or anxiety may also benefit from taking medicines. These can help to balance neurotransmitters in the brain to help a person feel better when they struggle with mental health conditions.

Self-help books for young adults

If a young person struggles with their mental health, one of the ways they can start to feel better is to consider reading a self-help book. These are books that a person can read to learn more about how to improve their mindset and improve their overall well-being.

No One Ever Told Us That: Money and Life Lessons for Young Adults by John D. Spooner

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered by Lysa TerKeurst

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis


Young adulthood is a time of great transition and sometimes uncertainty. Promoting good health, seeking professional treatment, and being willing to talk to friends and family can help a young adult better navigate this time period.



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