What Is the Most Significant And/Or Harmful Health Issue or Risky Behavior Affecting Adolescents and What Initiatives Can Be Used to Prevent It?
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Violence, poverty, humiliation and feeling devalued can increase the risk of developing mental health problems. Building life skills in children and adolescents and providing them with psychosocial support in schools and other community settings can help promote good mental health. Programmes to help strengthen the ties between adolescents and their families are also important. If problems arise, they should be detected and managed by competent and caring health workers.
Despite an almost 50 percent decline in the nation’s overall victimization rate between 1993 and 2005, 3.4 million teens annually are victims of violence. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) also show that, in 2005, 4.2 percent of male adolescents and nearly 11 percent of females reported having been physically forced to have sex, although this type of violence is often difficult to measure (CDC, 2009). One-third of all firearm deaths among young people are self-inflicted. YRBSS data indicate that, in 2005, 17 percent of youth contemplated suicide and 13 percent said that they had made a suicide plan.
An expanding evidence base demonstrates that well-designed PYD interventions can lead to positive outcomes, including the prevention of AYA health risk behaviors. Additional evaluation is necessary to learn how to tailor successful interventions to meet the needs of different groups of AYAs
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