Supporting Your Teen When They’re Struggling With Their Mental Health

Being a teenager is hard. Balancing academics, work, a social life, and whatever else life throws at them can cause teens to experience large amounts of stress. And while teenage rebellion is certainly common, many teens deal with mental health challenges that can impact their lives significantly. The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services reports that 49.5% of teens deal with a mental health disorder.

As adults, it’s easy to forget what it was like to be an adolescent. We become so wrapped up in our own adult lives that we lose touch with the strong emotions that come with the newfound independence this time in life brings. Despite this, there are ways that you can help your teen when they are struggling with their mental health.

Create a Trusting, Non-Judgmental Environment

As your child starts to develop their own identity, they may stop coming to you as much as they used to with their problems. While this is common, you still want to create an environment where they can feel safe to talk to you about their mental health. The more they are able to see that you can have an open conversation with them, the more likely they are to come to you when there is a problem. Here are some tips for talking with your teen about mental health:

  • Practice active listening during conversations so they feel acknowledged, supported, and safe.

  • Be as genuine as possible. Let them know that you truly care about what they are struggling with.

  • Admit when you’re wrong or if you have questions about what they’re saying.

  • Allow them to guide the conversation, giving them space when they need it.

  • Acknowledge what they’re going through and validate their concerns.

Educate Yourself and Your Teen

Learning about mental health is an essential part of helping your teen with their mental health. Whether they are struggling with anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder, there are tons of resources that can help you understand their condition. At the same time, help your teen learn about their symptoms and any warning signs that might indicate they need to get help. Doing this can also help build trust in your relationship with them.

Taking care of your own mental health during this time is also important. When your teen sees you actively making changes in your life for both your mental and physical health, they are more likely to do it for themselves.

Get Help When Needed

Deciding to get mental health treatment is a big decision for anyone, much less a teen. Encouraging your However, data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that only 10% of adolescents ages 12-17 sought out a type of therapy in 2021. It’s a well-known fact that various types of talk therapy can be good for teens, even if they don’t have a diagnosed mental health condition.

At Kentucky Services, we offer therapy for teens that can help them work through a number of issues they may be struggling with. To schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians,

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