Good Morning! For this week’s teen challenge, we will talk about Teen Mental Health issues.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a time for us to become aware of the mental health issues that teens face. But being aware is only part of it. We need to accept that they do suffer from them and help them find solutions. This week, we will talk about the mental health issues teens are struggling with and provide some information on how to help them.
Teens and Mental Health
Teens have always struggled with mental health issues. Growing up and being a teenager brings up all sorts of anxiety and uncertainty. Trying to fit in at school, dealing with cliques and the social hierarchy found at school. Worrying about keeping good grades and being great at a sport. These situations have always been seen as a part of growing up, but they can be overwhelming for a teenager who hasn’t had the life experience to be able to work through those issues on their own.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), here are some of the mental health issues teens are facing
- Emotional Disorders – anxiety and depression
- Behavioral Disorders – ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Eating Disorders – Anorexia and Bulimia
- Psychosis – hallucinations and delusions
- Self Harm – cutting them selves and suicide
With one in five American teens facing a mental health condition, Teen Mental Health is an important issue to be discussing. One resource I found to have valuable information on teen mental health is an article from The Recovery Village.
The Recovery Village
According to their website, The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab helps people on their journey to lifelong recovery through evidence-based addiction treatment, counseling for co-occurring mental health conditions, personalized treatment plans; and healing amenities and therapy options.
One of the things found on their website are great articles about issues one may be facing in the areas of treatment The Recovery Village provides. One such article was brought to my attention by Enmanual Batista, an Outreach Specialist at their Columbus facility, is called Parents Guide: How To Help Your Teen Cope With Mental Health Issues. This guide has some great information to help us learn more about teen mental health.
Warning Signs of a teen mental health issue
Watching your teen for the warning signs of a mental health issue can be a difficult task. Each teenager is unique and their situation or behavior may be different. According to the guide, here are some warning signs to look for, but are many others
- You observe that your teen is feeling noticeably more anxious or worried
- The frequency of tantrums or periods of irritability are more than you would expect, even allowing for the hormonal challenges your teen will face in their formative years
- Your teen seems to be suffering from regular headaches or stomach pains without any identifiable explanation
- You notice that they suddenly lose interest in things they have always enjoyed doing
- They withdraw from their social group and seem to avoid spending time with friends
- School grades and performance shows signs of decline
If you see your teen show any of these warning signs or behave in ways that are out of character for them, be sure to check in and see if they need help with something. Or, let them know you are there to listen.
Mental Health Matters: What can we do?
It is time for us to become aware of the mental health issues that teens face, accept the fact that they suffer from them, and help find solutions. I know teens can sometimes be hard to engage with, but we must make a better effort to do so. It will help us to understand what they are going through and be there to help them.
One of the themes I talk about on Mentoring A Dream is to take the time to become educated on what our teens are going through. Issues they are facing are a bit different then when we faced them. Be sure to read the Mentoring A Dream blog and social media posts and open up conversations with your teens about these different issues. Make time to find out how they feel, listen to and engage with them. Doing this may provide a safe place for them to ask for help when things don’t seem quite right. We as parents and caring adults need to reach out help them seek solutions to the problems they are facing before self harm or a need to run to drugs and alcohol as their only solution.
And, be sure to take a look at this article and many other resources that can be found on our resource page MAD Resource Page to help you learn more and help your teen work through the challenges they are facing.