Why Should I Talk with My Teen About Mental Health?
Every year, the World Teen Mental Health Day is observed on the 2nd of March, in order to bring awareness to the range of mental health issues that teens today are facing everywhere. As teenagers, they have a long transition going from being a child to a young adult, and during this time they are not sufficiently equipped with mechanisms to handle the pressures of society, their peers, parental expectations, bullying at school, and many others, including physical, mental, sexual and psychological abuse that some teens may be recipients of. The result of this is the dramatically high levels of anxiety, depression and suicides that we see in teens.
A harmful side effect to mental health issues is that your teen may turn to substances in order to cope with the pressures and challenges at their school and in their social life. Recognizing and addressing them as early as possible is a preventative measure that cannot be overestimated.
Here are some key reasons why discussing mental health with your teen is important:
Destigmatizing Mental Health:
- Open conversations help break down the stigma associated with mental health issues. By discussing it openly, you contribute to creating a supportive environment where seeking help is viewed as a normal and positive step.
- Discussing mental health allows your teen to become more aware of their own emotions and well-being. It helps them recognize signs of distress in themselves and others, fostering early intervention and support.
Promoting Emotional Intelligence:
- Conversations about mental health contribute to the development of emotional intelligence. Your teen can learn to understand, manage, and express their emotions in healthy ways.
Building Trust and Connection:
- Open communication fosters trust between you and your teen. It encourages them to share their thoughts and feelings, strengthening your relationship and making it easier for them to seek support when needed.
Addressing Stress and Pressure:
- Adolescence can be a challenging period marked by academic stress, social pressures, and identity exploration. Discussing mental health helps your teen cope with stress and navigate challenges more effectively.
- Encouraging your teen to talk about their mental health reduces the risk of isolation. Knowing that they can share their struggles and feelings with you can prevent them from feeling alone in their experiences.
- By discussing mental health, you create a foundation for providing support when needed. Your teen may feel more comfortable seeking help if they know you are open to these conversations.
Recognizing Warning Signs:
- Talking about mental health enables you and your teen to recognize warning signs of more serious issues. Early identification allows for timely intervention and professional support.
Promoting Healthy Coping Mechanisms:
- Conversations about mental health offer the opportunity to discuss healthy coping mechanisms. Encourage your teen to engage in activities that promote well-being and stress reduction.
Educating About Resources:
- Discussing mental health includes educating your teen about available resources, such as school counselors, mental health professionals, and helplines. Knowing where to turn for support is essential.
Preventing Mental Health Issues:
- Open conversations and support can contribute to preventing the development of more severe mental health issues. Early intervention and a supportive environment play a key role in mental health prevention.
Overall, addressing mental health with your teen is an essential part of promoting their overall well-being, resilience, and a positive attitude towards seeking help when needed. It establishes a foundation for lifelong mental health awareness and self-care.
How To Support Your Teen
Learn more about teen mental health challenges
Educating yourself about mental health challenges in teens is the first step to becoming aware of the enormity of the problem they are facing. Educating yourself about substance abuse and mental health issues can help you understand what to look for and what you observe in your teen. Learn more about symptoms, causes, and treatment options available.
Observe your teen’s behavioral changes
Noticing your child’s behavioral changes is probably your first clue towards recognizing that there may be something more going on with them. If you notice sudden changes in their attitude, social interactions, sleeping and eating habits, they may be going through some challenges that they are not sharing with you. Also observe your teen for signs of substance use.
Talk to your teen about mental health
Talking to your child everyday to check in about their day and life in general is a great routine to start when they are young. However, the only way this can be successful is if you are able to listen without judgment. Fear of judgment often stifles what they share. If you notice that they may indeed be struggling with something deeper, gently prompt them by asking questions, and start talking about mental health, so that they recognize that it is normal and that they can confide in you.
Seek an experienced therapist
Simply talking to your teen about what they are going through is a great first step, however, finding a knowledgeable but caring therapist who can help them navigate through their experiences and ways to cope with their stress, anxiety or depression is imperative for their long term health and success.
Some Resources for Teen Mental Health
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : Visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Visit www.crisistextline.org/ or Text “START” to 741-741
- Teens Against Bullying: http://www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org/
- National Eating Disorder Association: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ or call 1-800-931-2237
- Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network: http://www.glsen.org/
Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!
- Blue Shield
- Magellan Health
- First Health Network
- The Holman Group
- Anthem BCBS
- HMC Healthworks
- And More
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390