Adolescence is a uniquely stressful time and a crucial developmental period for social and emotional well-being. Variables like peer pressure, bullying, poor coping skills and social media use can make teens feel anxious or hopeless about the future. In observation of World Teen Mental Wellness Day on March 2, what should you know about how various risk factors affect adolescent mental health?
The Ripple Effects of Teen Mental Illness
Mental health can impact multiple aspects of a young person’s life, from academics to relationships. Many mental illnesses arise in the teen years, and without treatment, they can persist throughout adulthood.
The World Health Organization estimates that 14% of 10- to 19-year-olds worldwide experience unaddressed challenges like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and substance abuse. These issues can profoundly impact schoolwork, behavior and the ability to complete daily responsibilities.
Teen Mental Health Symptoms
It can be difficult to tell if your child’s mood and attitude changes are a typical part of growing up, or if they are cause for concern. Contact a health professional if these symptoms persist for weeks or months and detract from your teen’s overall quality of life.
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable hobbies
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Obsessing about food, exercise or weight gain
- Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior such as self-harm or drug abuse
Mental illnesses tend to run in families, so if you have struggled with these issues or have a loved one diagnosed with a mental health concern, you may already have some idea of what to look for. Still, symptoms can vary in severity and manifest differently in one person to the next, so it helps to educate yourself about the specific issues your teen is experiencing.
Talk to your child and encourage them to be honest about their emotions. Your heartfelt love and support may make them more willing to come to you for help when they need it, giving you a better chance of finding a solution.
Delivering Evidence-Based Care to Teens
While mental health conditions and neurodiversities such as anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD and autism may not directly cause addiction, they have a close link. For example, adolescents who drink or take drugs as a coping strategy to escape their emotions may quickly develop a substance use disorder. As addiction worsens, it can also magnify the symptoms of mental illness. And, when both conditions develop alongside each other, it can be increasingly challenging to tell which came first.
At The Forum, we have developed programming specifically to address the real-world social, emotional and academic problems teens deal with every day. We will be your family’s partner on your journey toward mental wellness, dealing with issues together. Our comprehensive treatment plans, created by a neuropsychologist, can help you teen unlock their full potential. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.