Adolescent Health

This section focuses on how adolescents develop and the issues they may face as they mature. Featured resources provide more information on special topics in adolescent health.

  • Adolescent Development Explained: Check out the OPA Adolescent Development Explained guide for information about the major developmental changes that occur in adolescence and how parents and caring adults can support adolescents.
  • Positive Youth Development: Learn about this strengths-based approach to adolescent health, meaningful youth engagement, and key practices for enhancing youth-serving programs.
  • National Adolescent Health Month (NAHM): OPA’s May observance is now called National Adolescent Health Month. This observance emphasizes the importance of building on young people’s strengths and potential, encouraging meaningful youth engagement in adolescent health activities, and highlighting key topics in adolescent health.
  • Reproductive Health and Teen Pregnancy: Learn about trends in teen pregnancy, challenges in teen childbearing, strategies and approaches for prevention, and tips for parents and caring adults.
  • Healthy Relationships in Adolescence: Learn about how adolescents form safe and healthy relationships with friends, parents, teachers, and romantic partners.
  • Mental Health for Adolescents: Learn about common mental health warning signs and disorders among adolescents, disparities in access to mental health services, and treatment resources.
  • Substance Use in Adolescence: Get information and resources about adolescent substance use and ways to prevent it.
  • Physical Health in Developing Adolescents: Learn about the importance of clinical preventive services, how adolescents can be involved in their healthcare, and healthy behaviors for adolescents.
  • Adolescent Health Facts: OPA has created fact sheets on different health topics, based on available federal data for adolescents in each state as well as select island territories.

Featured Adolescent Health Resources

Gender-Affirming Care and Young People *

Gender-affirming care is a supportive form of healthcare that consists of an array of services. For young people, receiving this care early is crucial to overall health and well-being. In this resource, OPA describes research that demonstrates the importance of gender-affirming care as well as common terms and services. For more information about LGBTQI+ health needs, access to health services, and addressing health disparities, visit LGBTQI+ Health & Well-being.

* PDF content is undergoing Section 508 review and will be updated pending remediation. For immediate assistance, please contact: opa@hhs.gov.

Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey

This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study is a nationally representative survey of U.S. high school students that explores how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted adolescents. This survey captured information on student health risk behaviors, COVID-19 related experiences, emotional well-being, and more.

COVID-19 Parental Resource Kit - Adolescence

The CDC developed this resource kit to help parents, caregivers, and other adults provide support and stability to children and young people facing social, emotional, and mental challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promoting Positive Adolescent Health Behaviors and Outcomes: Thriving in the 21st Century

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Committee on Applying Lessons of Optimal Adolescent Health to Improve Behavioral Outcomes for Youth examined the optimal health framework to (1) identify core components of risk behavior prevention programs that can be used to improve a variety of adolescent health outcomes, and (2) develop evidence-based recommendations for research and the effective implementation of federal programming initiatives focused on adolescent health.