According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all mental health conditions start by the time someone reaches fourteen years of age. Whether it’s a mental health condition, school, friendships, relationships, life changes and transitions, or something else that’s causing strain, adolescents are not immune to struggling with mental health by any means. So, how can you support your child or a teen in taking care of their mental health during their adolescent years?
Facts On Mental Health And Adolescence
Here are some facts about mental health and adolescents:
- Anyone can develop a mental health condition, including kids and teens. Across the globe, about 10% to 20% of adolescents face a mental health condition.
- 9% of teenagers aged 13 to 18 will face an anxiety disorder of some kind.
- 2017 statistics indicate that 4% of those aged 12-17 have experienced at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment.
Research also shows that those in their teenage years are facing higher levels of stress nowadays than ever before. With the pandemic, there has been added stress and strain among kids and teens as well. Whether an adolescent has a mental health condition or is experiencing the ups and downs that come with moving through life, adolescent mental health matters. So, how do you support a child or teen who is going through a rough patch?
Supporting Your Child Or Teen
Mental health encompasses social, emotional, and psychological health, and these are all components of mental health for kids and teens like anyone else. Here are some ways to support your adolescent:
- Allow space for emotions and emotional changes. Teen years come with a lot of changes in friendships, social dynamics, school, external pressures, and so on. What seems small to you might feel big to a teenager, so provide room for them to feel their feelings without judgment.
- For the most part, let them talk when they’re ready. Instead of forcing information out of them, say, “I’m here to talk if you want to.”
- Embrace what makes them who they are. Their adolescent self may be different from their childhood self, and that’s not just okay, but exciting. Listen to what they have to say, and support who they are right now. Embrace their growth, and embrace the fact that they’re becoming their own person, even more so than before.
- When you feel fear, extend compassion. If your child appears to be struggling with mental health or a mental health condition, you might feel afraid or even frustrated. If you’re tempted to show anger in particular as a result of this fear, extend compassion and support instead.
- Teach kids coping skills. This could be breathing exercises, learning to pinpoint emotions using a feelings wheel, or something else.
- Seek teen counseling. Teen counseling is incredibly beneficial for many adolescents. If your child has not yet reached teen years and as a child or preteen, there are counselors and therapists that work with that age group as well. This can be helpful for those struggling with school, life changes, mental health conditions, social connections, or virtually anything else.
If your child is struggling socially, or if they’re going through a difficult time, there are also support groups for teenagers and kids that may be advantageous.
Find A Therapist
Whether you’re facing concerns related to parenting or something else that’s on your mind, seeing a counselor or therapist can help. There are a number of different ways to find a therapist. You can ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company, search the web for a provider in your area, or sign up for a reputable online therapy website like BetterHelp. All of the providers on the BetterHelp platform are licensed, and online therapy allows you to get support from the privacy of your own home or anywhere else with a reliable Internet connection, making it an excellent option for busy parents. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to get the support that you need, so don’t hesitate to reach out and get started today.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.