Who doesn’t love a mentally healthy 15-year-old around them? However, having a teenager with optimal mental and psychological health requires your conscious understanding, effort, and support as a parent.
As kids enter into adolescence, they begin a unique transition phase to adulthood with several challenges. These issues play out emotionally, psychologically, behaviorally, and mentally as they evolve, and their hormones fluctuate drastically.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14. Also, 1 in 6 US adolescents from 12-17 years have experienced a major depressive episode (MDE). Three million of them have had serious suicidal thoughts.
Your child’s mental health is as important as their physical health. In fact, mental conditions can result in physical symptoms and affect your teen’s social life adversely. While handling your adolescent’s mental health can be a challenge, there’s no running away from it.
The World Teen Mental Health Day is celebrated in March and there’s no better time to discuss this than now. So, I’ll let you in on all you need to know about supporting your teenager’s mental health in this article.
Easy-To-Spot Signs That Show Your Teens May Need Mental Health Support
When teenagers are mentally healthy, they can act rationally and in their best interests. They can think and feel in ways that positively influence their life choices. If this doesn’t describe your child, you may be dealing with an adolescent with mental health challenges.
These are some signs that your teenager is dealing with mental health problems:
- Lack of motivation. They have no zeal in partaking, even in the activities they once enjoyed.
- Eating or sleeping problems.
- They have limited social interactions. Mentally unstable teenagers may have trouble making and maintaining friendships. They may also display anti-social or aggressive behaviors like fighting and bullying.
- Unexplained difficulties in academic work. They may also skip school now and again.
- Obsession with weight or physical appearance.
- Reoccurring physical symptoms like headaches, backaches, etc.
- Addictive behaviors, alcohol and drug abuse.
- Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Five Easy Tips to Boost Your Teen’s Mental Health
Whether your teenager is already experiencing mental health challenges or not, these tips can help to enhance their mental wellness:
1. Teach Them Positive Coping Skills
Coping skills are activities that help your teens react well to stressful or uncomfortable situations. They ensure that your children aren’t overwhelmed by whatever difficulty they’re in.
Teaching my son to recognize and express his emotions in negative situations has helped him overcome some of his experiences with bullies in his school.
Other coping skills could be journaling, a sport activity, or even meditation. It’s important to find what your child enjoys and incorporate the coping skills into that activity.
2. Educate Your Teens About Mental Illnesses and Mental Wellness
When your adolescents understand how essential mental wellness is, they’ll do all they can to improve on it. Ensure that they know the peculiar challenges that teenagers face and how to deal with them. They need to understand that they’re not alone in their tough times, and they can always approach you for help.
3. Encourage Mind-Body Wellness
The mind and body are powerful allies. So, your child’s physical health can reflect how mentally healthy they are and vice-versa. Emphasizing mind-body wellness ensures that your physical and mental health is at its best.
Eating a balanced diet, having adequate rest, and exercising often improves mental wellness. Mindfulness, meditation, and positive thinking, positive interpersonal connections, and a healthy social life are also essential aspects of mind-body wellness.
4. Communicate Openly With Your Teens
As kids become adolescents and attain certain levels of independence, they may find it embarrassing discussing specific challenges with you. You can prevent this by building strong relationships with them as early as possible. Let them know that you’re always available to support them without judging.
5. Help Them Seek Professional Help When Necessary
Mental health challenges can happen no matter how hard we try to prevent them. In such situations, it’s best to direct them to mental health experts that can help them professionally. From medication to different behavioral therapies, seeking professional help ensures that they get personalized solutions for mental health challenges.
Helping a teenager improve their mental health isn’t a walk in the park. But the good news is that with the right information and strategies, you can make it work.
Start by experimenting with the steps I’ve shared in this article, and you’re bound to see great results. They’ve worked for me and a lot of other parents I know.
If you have any questions, or contributions to share about your teen’s mental health, feel free to comment below!