Anyone who has raised a family or worked with kids has probably dealt with moodiness, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating habits. However, when those changes all happen simultaneously, for no reason, it is not uncommon to ask whether they represent mental health issues and how to help a teenager with mental health issues.
Modern Teen Mental Health Issues
Teenagers today face modern mental health issues relating to school demands, performance, home life, and the environment.
- Demanding schedules that inhibit rest or time for hobbies
- Problems with poverty or abuse in the home
- Bullying online or in person
- Pressure to excel academically and get into a good university
- Persistent fears of conflict, climate change, and political change
- Discrimination based on sexual identity, race, or weight
Studies indicate that nearly ten percent of children under the age of seventeen have ADHD. Almost the same number have anxiety severe enough to interfere with their daily tasks. Around five percent of teens live with depression, though their depression symptoms might look more like teen anger or irritability.
How to Know if Your Loved One Has Teenage Mental Health Issues
Changes in a loved one because of mental health issues will look different from one teen to the next. But as someone close to them, you will know what signs are abnormal and might indicate a problem.
Social changes can come in many forms. You might notice your teen canceling plans with their best friends for no reason. They might withdraw from friends or family. Soon, you might notice an entirely new group of friends.
Academic changes might indicate a need for help. Often these changes are stark and unexpected, with no other explanation. A straight-A student might fail an easy test or simply stop doing their homework.
Personal changes can include physical or psychological changes. Psychological changes might be obsessions with meeting specific goals, believing their future depends on it. Physical changes apply to sleeping habits or eating habits. You might even see signs of substance abuse.
Note: Teenage mental health issues manifest with multiple symptoms, not just one of these. Biological changes, changes to school routines, or self-exploration might account for one or two of these. But when you notice consistent signs of personal, academic, or social changes, it might be time to take action.
How to Help a Teenager with Mental Health Issues
Again, it is important to understand that teenagers deal with a lot of things, from school pressure to changing social habits to biological changes. Moodiness occasionally or changes to social circles when a teen starts a new school, a new school year, or a new hobby is normal. However, if you have noticed many changes, it’s time to get more information.
Talk to Them
The first step is facilitating an open conversation. If you notice signs of mental health teen issues in the home, talk to your loved one about how they are doing, how they feel, and whether they need help.
They might not realize yet that they have something like depression or anxiety. You might have to help them put words to how they are feeling by offering examples of what they might feel and having them confirm when you’ve found the right example.
When you talk:
- Listen more than you think is necessary. Your child might need time to open up and get the conversation going, but they might close up if you pounce and fill the empty space.
- Try not to make them defensive. Instead, word your concerns in an observational way, like “I noticed that you don’t hang out with Sarah anymore. I wondered if maybe you and she had had a falling out” instead of “You haven’t hung out with Sarah recently. Why not?”
Get a Diagnosis
It might be worth getting an official diagnosis from their primary care physician. In fact, if you seek treatment for mental health disorders, you might need an official diagnosis from your primary care physician to use your health insurance to pay for the treatment.
If you discover that your teen is struggling with teenage mental health issues, it is time to be proactive and get help. Going to your primary care physician might result in nothing other than a diagnosis and medication. But prescriptions are not as effective without ongoing therapy, which can be provided at a mental health treatment center.
With Water Gap Wellness Center, you can find professional help for you can find professional help for mental health issues for teens ages 18 and 19.. Our private facility treats each client like family. We offer individualized, holistic treatment for mental health issues. Your teen can participate in an IOP or traditional outpatient program. We can offer integration for multiple mental health disorders too.
Call us today at (877) 414-3281 to learn more about how to help a teenager with mental health issues.