Puberty is accompanied by physical, psychological, and emotional changes adapted to ensure reproductive and parenting success. Human puberty stands out in the animal world for its association with brain maturation and physical growth. Its effects on health and wellbeing are profound and paradoxical. On the one hand, physical maturation propels an individual into adolescence with peaks in strength, speed, and fitness. Clinicians have viewed puberty as a point of maturing out of childhood-onset conditions. However, puberty's relevance for health has shifted with a modern rise in psychosocial disorders of young people. It marks a transition in risks for depression and other mental disorders, psychosomatic syndromes, substance misuse, and antisocial behaviours. Recent secular trends in these psychosocial disorders coincide with a growing mismatch between biological and social maturation, and the emergence of more dominant youth cultures.