How Do You Help a Teenager with Mental Illness?

how to help a teen with mential illness

Parenting is a challenging job and parenting teens is quite tricky. Teenagers face many changes as they approach adulthood and the struggles that come with it. Peer pressure, bullying, body shaming, and negative self-perception all fall under the list of teen issues. As a parent, you want to ensure your teen is mentally, emotionally, and physically active.

A teen can develop similar mental health conditions as an adult, yet their symptoms may be different. Mental illness in adolescents can be difficult for parents to notice. Therefore, many teens who can benefit from teen mental health treatment often don’t receive the help they need.

What are the signs of mental illness in teens? What can parents do to help?   We’ll seek to answer these questions.

What is Mental Illness?

Mental health is defined as the overall mental wellness of a individual and how they think, regulate their feelings and behavior. Mental illness or a mental health condition can be defined as patterns or changes in thinking, feeling, or behaving that result in distress in a person’s ability to function.

In teens, mental health disorders are delays or disruptions in developing age-related thinking, behavior, social skills, or managing emotions. These issues are distressing to teens and can disturb their ability to function at school, home, or other social conditions.

Common Mental Health Disorders in Teens:

Mental health issues in teens or developmental disorders that mental health professionals address can include the following;

  • Anxiety issues

Anxiety disorder in a teen involves feelings of endless fears and worries that disturb their ability to participate in school activities. Parents will notice anxiety when they see social stress, generalized anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

  • Attention- deficit or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

When comparing most teens of the same age, teens with ADHD have difficulty paying attention, impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.  They experience these issues at the same time in varying degrees.

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder is a sensory condition that appears in early childhood, generally before age three. The severity of ASD’s situation can vary.  A child with this disorder has difficulty interacting and communicating with others.

  • Depression and other mood disorders

Depression is a continued feeling of sadness and loss of interest that upsets an adolescent’s ability to perform and interact with others. Bipolar disorder additionally brings about outrageous emotional episodes, as well as rapid mood swings that can range from from melancholy to overly enthusiastic. The latter might be risky or even dangerous.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is extended emotional stress, nervousness, anxiety, upsetting memories, bad dreams, and problematic behaviors in response to traumatic events. These events may include past or present abuse, violence, and injury.

Read how art therapy has been helping kids transition from negative experiences to positive emotions related to various psychological, developmental and social issues.

Reason Teen Can Develop Mental Health Problems:

Though there can be various reasons and circumstances contributing to a teen’s mental health condition, some of the primary causes can be the following;

  • Hormones

Changes in hormones and brain development can put your teen at risk of mental health problems. Research has shown that when all the parts of the neural system don’t develop at the correct ratio, a teen may experience changes in thinking, mood, and behavior.

  • Environmental issues

Environmental issues can also be a factor that can contribute to a teen’s state of mental health. Any traumatic incidents like the history of any abuse can also increase a teen’s risk.

  • Stress

Stress can be a common factor in bringing on mental illness in teenagers. If your teen is being threatened at school or is a victim of cyberbullying or he or she is undergoing a lot of pressure, they may be more prone to mental health issues.

Warning Signs to Look for Teenage Mental Illness:

Mental illness symptoms can be different in teens, but some common warning signs include these behaviors;

  • Changes in sleeping habits

Your teenager may say they are having trouble sleeping, or they begin taking multiple or daily short naps at school. In the event that your child feels the need to remain in bed the entire day or wants to stay up throughout the night, this can be a warning sign of mental illness advancing in the teens life.

  • Lost interest in regular activities

In the event that your teens wants to withdraw from their favorite activity or indicates they no longer want to hang out with family or friends, then they might be going through a mental issue.

  • A changes in school performance

Mental health conditions frequently lead to dramatic changes in motivation to start or finish school work.  A loss of interest in school overall or a sudden decrease in school grades could very well be an indication of mental issues.

  • Changes in appetite or weight

Skipping out on meals, hoarding food, and quick weight changes could be a sign of an eating disorder.

  • Extreme agitation

Unusual resentment, unexpected emotional responses such as crying, and high degrees of irritability can be a sign of mental illness.

  • Increased isolation

A strong desire to stay distant from others or being very secretive might be an indication of a problem.

How to Help Teen to Deal with Mental Illness?

 Parents can play a crucial part in supporting their teen’s mental treatment. Here are few vital points that can help a parent to support their teen’s mental health treatment;

  • Take time to research and learn about your teen’s mental illness.
  • Seek family counseling that includes all individuals as partners in the treatment plan.
  • If you do not have a family pet, consider the benefits of animal therapy and which pet may be the most beneficial.
  • Ask your teenager’s mental health professional for counsel on responding to your teen and dealing with their conduct.
  • Take part in parent training programs, particularly those created for parents of teenagers with mental issues.
  • Engage in activities to unwind and have fun with your teen.
  • Study stress management techniques to assist you in responding to situations calmly.
  • Express appreciation for your teens strengths and abilities.

Mental illness is like any other illness.  It takes professional attention to help the person who is mentally ill to improve and manage their health moving forward. Beware of the signs and be ready to learn and provide appropriate solutions.  Get to know your kids and learn how to make them mentally strong for the challenges they will face as they grow.