Fewer teens with mental health issues referred for counselling

National 1 minute, 39 seconds


THERE has been a slight decline in young adults being referred for counselling due to mental health issues over the past three years, data from the Community Development Department (JAPEM) shows.

From January to October this year, 36 adolescents had undergone counselling at JAPEM for anxiety and depression compared with 38 cases last year.

The department said 44 teenagers had to undergo counselling for anxiety and depression in 2014 while 54 were counselled in 2013.

JAPEM said despite the decrease, depression and anxiety is still an alarming issue among teens.

“There is a slight decrease, but it’s still a concern because the numbers are still there,” said the department.

The department in an email interview attributed the need for these adolescents to undergo counselling to social issues such as abuse, family problems, conflicts and other personal problems such as feeling left out and social isolation.

They added that the top reasons behind teenage depression were financial struggles in the family, separating parents or a broken family.

JAPEM said some of the symptoms of teenagers suffering from mental health issues include mood swings, loss of interest in food, sadness, staying awake at odd hours, withdrawal from family and friends and fatigue.

“Often these teens will undergo a noticeable change in their thinking and behaviour. They may have no motivation and even become withdrawn, closing their bedroom door after school and staying in their room for hours,” said JAPEM.

To tackle depression and anxiety, JAPEM offers help to teenagers referred to their department through one-on-one counselling and group sessions.

This also includes talk therapy where the teens can air their grievances and talk about their struggles.

“Talk therapy is to help teens understand and manage their moods and feelings. Teens can talk out their emotions to someone who understands and supports them. They can also learn how to stop thinking negatively and start to look at the positives in life. This will help teens build confidence and feel better about themselves,” said JAPEM.

The Brunei Times