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What is a mental illness?

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Young Adult Mental Health: 7 Answers to Questions About Disorders, Treatments, and Mental Challenges

What are the warning signs you may need mental health treatment?

1 in 5 people have a mental health challenge

Life is difficult, especially during the developmental years of teens and young adults. Adolescents are dealing with peer pressure, school, work, finding an apartment, hormones, and parental expectations, all while trying to figure out who they are as a person.

Not every struggle is due to a mental illness, but it is important to know the warning signs so you can identify when you or a loved one needs some extra help.

General warning signs of mental illness in teens and young adults can include:

  1. Excessive worry, fear, or sadness
  2. Problems concentrating or learning
  3. Irritability or anger
  4. Extreme mood swings
  5. Isolating themselves or avoiding social situations
  6. Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  7. Intense concern over appearance
  8. Unexplainable health problems
  9. Substance abuse
  10. Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
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How do you know if something is wrong with you mentally?

  • Are you using substances to cope with stress or anxiety?
  • Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy?
  • Are you self-isolating or avoiding friends?
  • Are you experiencing changes in your mood?
  • Is your performance suffering in school or at work?

If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, it is best to reach out to a mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis.

At what age does mental illness start?

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What Are The Most Common Mental Disorders In Young Adults?

What can trigger mental illness in Teens or Young Adults?

50% of mental illnesses begin by age 14

Most mental illnesses and mood disorders are not caused or “triggered” by one singular thing. There may be many risk factors that play a role in the onset of a mental health issue.

Some of these mental health risk factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Unhealthy Habits
  • Stressful events or environment
  • Brain chemistry
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Negative thoughts
  • Childhood trauma or a traumatic event
  • Ongoing medical conditions (like diabetes)
Working Through Trauma in Young Adults
Working Through Trauma For Young Adults

What is considered a serious mental illness?

A mental illness is considered to be serious when severely interferes with and restricts your ability to complete daily life tasks or social activities.

According to the NIMH, “in 2020, There were an estimated 14.9 million adults 18 and older who were diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of SMI (9.7%) compared to adults aged 26-49 years (6.9%) and aged 50 and older (3.4%).“

What are the most serious mental illnesses?

While there are many different kinds of serious mental illnesses, the most common ones include schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, severe bipolar disorder, and severe major depression.

Bipolar disorder is categorized as a brain disorder where a person experiences intense mood swings, ranging from euphorically happy to depressively sad.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder where the person is unable to perceive reality in a normal way. They may hallucinate, have paranoia, disordered thinking; all of which severely interfere with their ability to function in daily life.

Major Depressive Disorder is one of the most common kinds of mental illness. While the symptoms and signs vary from person to person, common symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, anxiety, low energy, abnormal sleep patterns, and severe sadness that interfere with the person’s overall well-being and ability to sleep, eat, or work.

How do I know if I need counseling or therapy?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “if you have any signs or symptoms of a mental illness, see your primary care provider or mental health professional. Most mental illnesses don’t improve on their own, and if untreated, a mental illness may worsen over time and cause serious problems.”

Not to mention, trust your gut. If you feel like you need help then reach out to your parents, friends, or a professional and find yourself the help you need. Life is tough enough as it is; Sandstone Care is here if you need to talk.

What are the types of mental disorders?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists nearly 300 different mental health disorders.

A few of the major groups of mental disorders include:

  • Mood disorders (like bipolar disorder and depression)
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychotic disorder (like schizophrenia)
  • Trauma-related disorders (like post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders

Can mental disorders be treated?

When you explore the signs and determine you may need mental health treatment, there are many different treatment options available. These options include, but are not limited to group, individual, or family therapy, as well as support groups.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reminds us that “choosing the right mix of treatments and supports that work for you is an important step in the recovery process. Treatment programs for mental health conditions will vary from person to person.”

Why might someone avoid getting help for a mental health concern?

While many different factors may keep an individual from seeking mental health treatment, some of the most common reasons are judgment, fear, doubt, misinformation, and not wanting to admit that they need help.

Historically there have been stigmas surrounding mental health and wellness. This means that society has placed shame and judgment on people struggling with and seeking help for mental health concerns. Thankfully these stigmatisms are lifting and seeking help is now widely accepted and encouraged.

So if you have read, the 10 signs you may need mental health treatment, and determined that you may need help, don’t worry about what others think, and please reach out to a professional to begin your wellness journey.

What happens when mental health goes untreated?

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When a mental illness is left untreated, it can easily get worse and have extreme consequences for the person who is struggling, as well as for those around them. These consequences may include unemployment, injury or disability, homelessness, substance abuse, or suicide.

There are many helplines, resources, and outlets for people experiencing a mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

What might worsen a person’s mental health?

There are several factors that could worsen a person’s mental health. These factors could be an environmental influence, like a traumatic event, or simply from leaving a mental health issue untreated. Physical health also plays a major role in staying mentally healthy.

Once you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, it is important to be proactive with your wellness. There are many mental health services, including Sandstone Care, that provide a range of treatment options from inpatient to outpatient.


Mental health concerns are real, more common than you think, and thankfully treatable with health care providers like Sandstone Care.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health or substance use issues, call (888) 850-1890 to speak with a Sandstone advisor and learn more about treatment options and how to find the help you need.

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Let’s take the first step together.

We understand taking the first step is difficult. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help or more information. We are here to support you in any way we can.


Questions About Mental Health Treatment?

You’re not alone. Explore some of the questions others ask — or call us at (888) 850-1890 to get answers to your specific questions today. Ask us anything.

Medication management & medication assisted treatment can be important parts of the treatment process for mental illness. If after a psychiatric evaluation medication is recommended, our medication provider will see you on a regular basis until an ongoing provider is established.

If you have an outside provider and would like to continue using them during Sandstone outpatient services, a release will be required to ensure integrated care.

Our outpatient mental health services are offered in Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, & Illinois. Click a location to learn more about the various facilities and programming available.

Yes! Please complete a quick and easy Insurance Verification to see if we accept your health insurance. Please note that we do not accept Medicare or Medicaid.

The mental health program may be appropriate for teens and young adults who are using substances to cope with their mental health issues. Many teens and young adults struggle with substance use and mental health issues simultaneously. If substance abuse is the primary issue, then an addiction recovery program may be the correct care and a referral will be made.

Our outpatient rehab for depression, anxiety, and other conditions provides comprehensive support through small group programming. Our treatment focuses on fostering a well-balanced recovery through individual therapy, peer support, family therapy and multifamily group, and academic/vocation skill building twice a week.

We also offer specialized group therapy led by licensed clinicians and medical providers who provide medication management, psychiatric services and psychotherapy, and weekly evaluations. These clinical groups use dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat individuals experiencing mental health problems including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and PTSD.

Connection is key in recovery, and the family plays a vital role in the overall wellness of each individual served. Individual family therapy sessions are offered bi-weekly to examine the family’s role in helping their loved ones break destructive behavior patterns in favor of creating healthier ones.

The family is taken into heavy consideration throughout our case management process. We ensure that family members are informed of all available crisis services. Our program also utilizes weekly multi-family groups to reinforce the mindfulness and skill-building being learned in family therapy sessions, and as a source of support and guidance.

You can begin the process of receiving mental health care from a Sandstone treatment facility by calling our admissions department. If you or a loved one are experiencing an emergency mental health crisis, please call the suicide prevention crisis line at 988.

Sandstone Care’s age-based approach addresses mental health challenges as they appear in different stages of life. While some programs may be split by gender, our approach goes beyond this distinction, acknowledging the unique ways mental health issues manifest in various age groups.

We understand that mental health is intricately connected to factors such as brain development, social pressures, life transitions, and other circumstances. Our program is designed to provide specialized expertise in navigating these complexities. By offering age-specific support, we can provide more effective and targeted mental health interventions.

No, our facility operates strictly by appointment. However, providing support to individuals seeking treatment for themselves or their loved ones is our top priority. Our dedicated phone line is available round the clock to address any inquiries you may have. Our team of professionals is always ready to offer compassionate guidance and assistance to ensure your needs are met.