Providing Mental Health Support to Teens
Parents, if your teenager needs mental health support, keep reading to learn what you can do to help.
Mental health is an important component of your overall health and well-being. People of all ages often find themselves in need of mental health resources and support, including adolescents who are navigating the challenges of this developmental period in their lives.
As a parent, you may not be sure where to begin when it comes to supporting their mental health. If you’re either a teenager or are a parent with of a teenager needing mental health support, follow this beginner guide to know how to best start addressing mental health.
Understanding good mental health
Your mental health can affect your ability to build and maintain healthy relationships, deal with change, and handle various life challenges. When you're mentally healthy, you're more likely to:
- Have healthy relationships with family members and friends
- Feel a sense of belonging
- Enjoy life
- Participate in physical activities
- Make nutritious food choices
- Bounce back from challenges and disappointments
- Sleep well at night
- Feel proud of accomplishments
It is very common for teens to experience difficulties in life, especially while undergoing rapid social and physical changes. Hormonal shifts can lead to emotional outbursts and overwhelming feelings. Since they're still mentally and emotionally developing, they may not have the tools to manage these strong feelings and emotions.
Promoting good mental health
The relationship between teenagers and their parents, guardians, or trusted support people can have a positive impact on their mental health. Healthy relationships can help your teen feel more positive about themselves and have an increased sense of confidence.
Open communication is an important aspect when providing support. Choose to deal with problems as they arise rather than allowing them to build up. If you notice your teen is withdrawing from relationships and activities, talk to them about it and encourage them to voice their feelings with you. Value your teen’s opinions and ideas while engaging in regular conversations.
Showing love and affection to teenagers is also an important aspect of their development. Numerous scientific studies show the importance of physical affection and emotional support starting from early in a child’s development.
You can also encourage your teen and support them in their endeavors. Show that you’re interested in what they are interested in and praise their efforts, achievements, and successes.
Your teen may also benefit from regular physical activity which releases endorphins and triggers positive feelings in addition to the other health benefits of exercise.
Teenagers may occasionally struggle with poor motivation, sleeping problems, and bad moods. However, if these behaviors continue for days or weeks, your teen may need additional support.
Signs your teen or pre-teen may be struggling with mental health include:
- A loss of interest in activities
- Avoiding social situations or interaction with friends
- Aggressive or angry behavior
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Being tearful or sad
- Feeling hopeless
- Lacking motivation
- Changes in performance at school
- Physical pain, including stomachaches, headaches, and backaches
If your teen has ongoing symptoms of mental health problems, it’s important to seek help. Many licensed counselors and therapists specialize in adolescent mental health. They may be able to help your child talk through what they're feeling and provide additional resources.
The following are some additional mental health resources for you and your teen:
- NAMI: Teens and Young Adults
- Warning Signs of Suicide
- Teen Mental Health (sponsored by the U.S. National Library of Medicine)
Mental health is crucial at any age, and your teen may be showing signs that they need assistance. With the right resources and support, you can get your teen the help they need to get back on track to a happy, healthy, and successful life.