Teenagers Mental Health & How to Support Them
Now more than ever, teenagers and adolescents are struggling with anxiety, depression, compulsive thoughts, and other mental health concerns. These issues can be exhausting, terrifying, and relentless, making it feel impossible or painful to do normal teenage things like hang out with friends, go to school, or make plans.
How to Have a Conversation About Mental Health With Your Parents:
1. Keep it factual and observable.
2. Use “I statements”.
3. Provide solutions.
What If My Parents Don’t Believe Me?
• Talk to your friends- most likely, there is someone else who understands. Talking to someone, even if it is just a friend, has huge benefits.
• Make plans- When you’re depressed or anxious, things like exercising and hanging out with people can sound impossible. Start with small things, like going for a walk or having one good friend over to watch TV.
• Join free online support groups. There are local and international sites organized to help those who can’t reach professional counseling but are still looking for a community to support them. Sites such as 7 Cups of Tea, The Tribe, or Daily Strength are good replacements until you can start professional therapy.
For the parents: How to Support Your Teenager Struggling With Their Mental Health:
1. Believe them.
The Global Burden of Disease study created by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that 1 in 10 people world-wide struggle with a clinical mental illness. The word “clinical” means it meets researched dialogistic criteria and greatly impairs ones’ ability to carry out daily functions. This includes 264 million people living with depression and 284 million living with anxiety.
2. Get professional help.
3. Support them at home.
Teenager Mental Illness is Hard, but There is Hope.
It’s not always easy, but thousands of teenagers enjoy recovery and freedom from mental illness every year. What you’re feeling and experiencing now isn’t going to be with you forever. Professional therapy is the fastest, most guaranteed way to deal with a mental health concern, but it’s not the only way. You are strong and resilient, and you will make it to happier days.