Early adolescence (10-14 years) is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. Few developmental periods are characterized by so many changes at so many different levels, when children face the biological transformations of puberty, the educational transition from elementary to secondary school, and the psychological shifts that accompany the emergence of sexuality. The literature shows an increase in the incidence of mental health problems among adolescents over the past decade.
Nevertheless, not all youths who experience disadvantage, adversity, or exposure to risk factors experience negative mental health outcomes. The concept of RESILIENCE provides one possible explanation for the ability of some individuals to maintain positive mental health. Resilience research gives an overview over protective factors by providing with effective assets to reduce the impact of risk factors, enhance protective factors for good mental health and lead to lasting positive effects on a range of educational, social and economic outcomes.
Research in this area is limited, but suggests that high levels of resilience may prevent the development of mental health problems in adolescents. At present, there are several unmet needs in this field, including lack of evidence-based programmes covering prevention and promotion of mental health in adolescents, knowledge of the percentages of school dropout among adolescents in Europe, data comparability and compatibility is difficult due to be expressed in terms of self-evaluation and short-term follow-ups, and there is a lacking inter-sectorial collaboration between the health, education, social and other relevant sectors with regard to the mental health of adolescents.