Psycho-Social Health

Psycho-Social Health

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7384-5.ch003


Adolescence is the period when development is less gradual and more salutatory, suggestive of some ancient period of storm and stress when old moorings were broken and higher level attained. Important functions previously non-existent arise. Every step of the upward way is strewn with wreckage of body, mind, and morals. It is inherently a time when all young people go through some degree of emotional and behavioral upheaval before establishing a more stable equilibrium in adulthood. Interest in adult life and in vocations develops. Youth awakes to a new world and understands neither it nor him. Character and personality are taking form, but everything is plastic. Self-feelings and ambitions are increased, and every trait and faculty is pliable to exaggeration and excess. Both cognitive and behavioral processes affect them, thus affecting the psycho-social health of adolescents.
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Key Facts

  • Estimated 1.2 million adolescents died in the year 2015, nearly over 3000 every day, mostly from preventable or treatable causes.

  • Road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death in the year 2015.

  • Other major causes of adolescent deaths included lower respiratory tract infections, suicides, diarrhoeal diseases and drowning.

  • Half of all mental health disorders in adulthood start by the age of 14 years but most cases usually remain undetected and untreated. (Adolescent Health World Document)



Adolescence is a critical developmental period with long‐term implications for the health and well‐being of the individual and for society as a whole. The most significant factors to adolescents' health are found in their environments and in the choices and opportunities for health‐enhancing or health‐compromising behaviors that these contexts present (e.g., exposure to violence, supportive families etc.). Inadequate contexts represent a failure to invest in and protect adolescents, a choice to alienate rather than integrate them into society.

Adolescents form a socially important segment of the population. However, there is no organized system to govern and monitor the social needs of adolescents which contributes towards their holistic health and wellbeing. The Committee on the Gopalakrishnan Rights of the Child (CRC, WHO) published its guidelines in 2013 on the rights of children and adolescents and issued guidelines on states obligations to recognize the special health and developmental needs and rights of adolescents and young people. This has been further envisaged in WHO report in 2014, titled “Health for the World’s Adolescents”.

Adolescence is a psycho-physical and psycho-social period during which most adolescents adjust to radical changes in their bodies, outgrow the psychological response of childhood and begin to acquire behavior which most adults use with varying degree of sources; as a transition or link between childhood and adult stage. An adolescent is exposed to a number of risk factors like increased sexual desire and no outlet, peer pressure, aggression, victimization, bullying, alcoholism, depression, suicide thoughts etc.

This chapter focuses on the magnitude psycho-social health issues and concerns of adolescents along with strategies to improve mental health status of adolescents as well as the challenges involved so as to create awareness among adolescents and the stakeholders about the importance of strengthening the adolescent health care services so as to meet their felt needs for holistic health and well-being.

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