Adolescent Health Management

Adolescent Health Management

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7384-5.ch005

Abstract

The present state of affairs of adolescent health status clearly shows that the condition of today's youth has significantly deteriorated as revealed by severe malnutrition, poor reproductive health, high aggression, increased depression, increased suicidal rates, drug use, substance abuse, etc., which are the clear indications of the challenges that adolescents are facing. No doubt that they are at risk because they lack social support to seek accurate information and services. In such a scenario, there is an urgent need to provide today's youth with new set of ways and systems to deal with the changing demands of life. It is essential that the adolescents be helped to develop skills inherently to handle a wide variety of choices, changes, and the stressors. It calls for a need of life skill education for adolescents so as to enable them to develop psycho-social competencies and interpersonal skills which help them to make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and develop coping and self-management skills so as to enable them to lead a healthy and productive life.
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Key Facts

  • Recent studies show that there is a significant rise in the problems faced by the adolescents for example, serious emotional disturbances have increased (WHO, 2001).

  • Increased sexual activity among school going adolescents, rise in HIV/AIDS cases in India as well as greater use of alcohol consumption has been found (BSS, 2007).

  • Apart from the above, use of heavy drugs and youth drop outs has also increased in the recent years (UNICEF, 2001).

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Introduction

Adolescence is a transitional period of development between childhood and adulthood which is accompanied by physical, sexual, psychological and social changes. Adolescence is often described as an exciting transitory phase in the human life cycle but is perhaps the most challenging phase as well. This is a time when adolescents evolve into adults with newly discovered independence and renewed responsibilities. They are constantly in search of their own new identity. They tend to question and appreciate the values of the adult life and try to assert their identity. During adolescence, they develop various skills that help them to grow into caring and responsible adults. When adolescents are supported and encouraged by caring adults, they thrive in unimaginable ways, becoming resourceful and contributing members of their families and societies. Adolescents are, thus, considered as the productive members of a society.

During the 21st century, life itself is undergoing significant transition and also the tremendous changes in all spheres occurring throughout the world. Among the most affected ones are the adolescents. Today, greater complexities of lifestyle, uncertainty and diversity, more and more peer as well as societal pressures, rapid changes in the home and the school environment as well as the continued deprivation put adolescents at the crossroads of their lives, thus facing an uncertain future in undertaking the responsibilities of adulthood and to enter the world of work. Now-a-days, the lives of adolescents are becoming miserable due to many reasons, including an inappropriate home and school environment. They are becoming individuals who are less motivated, less confident and less secure and are thus engaging in anti-social activities and spoiling their valuable lives.

Rapidly changing personal, social, moral, ethical and religious values have ushered certain ‘life styles changes' in the present society, especially among the adolescents. Certain inbuilt buffers of the society, which used to serve as both support and control, are no longer available to the adolescents of present times, for instance the extended family system, the smaller community that had personal and closed uniform culture in the smaller circle of living, traditional ways of thinking and practicing etc. The stress faced by the adolescents in such a current situation is enormous. This is reflected by growing crime and rising suicide rates among young adolescents.

The present knowledge of adolescent’s health status clearly shows that the condition of today’s youth has significantly deteriorated. Recent studies show that there is a significant rise in the problems faced by the adolescents for example, serious emotional disturbances have increased (WHO, 2001), increased sexual activity among school going adolescents, rise in HIV/AIDS cases in India as well as greater use of alcohol consumption has been found (BSS, 2007). Apart from the above, use of heavy drugs and youth drop outs has also increased in the recent years (UNICEF, 2001).

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