When your child gets sick with a fever, what do you do? Obviously, you will take them to the doctor and provide them with the best care possible. Right? But what happens when the illness lies within the mind? Mental health struggles are just as real, and it’s time to give our little ones the support they deserve.
Parents often ignore their teen’s unusual habits thinking that teenagers are disobedient. However, teens’ mental health is a critical issue that affects the overall well-being and development of adolescents. During this stage of life, young people face many physical, emotional, and social changes that can impact their mental health.
If you have a child suffering from mental health problems right now, don’t worry; you are not alone. In a survey conducted report in 2021, 68 percent of U.S. adults agree that mental health problems are on the rise among children and teens.
When you know your child is suffering from mental illness, you will support them and be with them. But if the parents are not informed about teen mental health, it will go untreated. And untreated mental illness can have long-lasting consequences, such as difficulties with academic performance and relationships.
In serious cases, it can even lead to suicide, a leading cause of teen death. That’s why you must know what you can do to solve your child’s problem. Here in this article, we’ll discuss what you as a parent need to know of teen mental health.
5 Essential Tips To Know About Your Teen Mental Health
Ignorance is not bliss, especially regarding our child’s health. Unbeknownst to us, diseases may lurk within. And your teens may silently struggle with mental health issues.
However, when parents know about their teen’s mental health, they can model healthy coping strategies, provide a safe and supportive environment, and help their children develop the skills needed to maintain good mental health.
Follow the given 5 tips to learn about your teen’s mental health and prevent teens from suicide.
- Understanding the changes and challenges during adolescence
As you know, the teenage is a time of change. During this period, your teen may get their first job, learn to drive, late night parties, hang out with friends, and spend less time at home.
Further, their brain is still developing, making decision-making power less mature. All of this is normal; in fact, it’s part of their development.
However, some of the changes and challenges can affect their mental health. Some major causes are:
- Academic Stress
The immense pressure to perform well in school or admittance to prestigious colleges are the rising cause that causes extreme pressure on your child. And to get good grades, they may have tough schedules which don’t allow them enough time for relaxation and rest.
- Peer Pressure
This is when they want to receive social acceptance from their friends. Occasionally, your child may do things to impress their friends. However, if they feel their peers leave them out, they will feel sad.
Further, their wish to be superstars in sports, drawing, performing arts or other extracurriculars can also make them anxious.
Another main reason for your child’s mental health concerns is bullying. Your child may get bullied either in school, college, or via social media.
Bullying can have a serious impact on an individual’s mental health. Some people bully them because of their weight, financial status, gender, disability, or racial background. Therefore, they may feel worthless and anxious, have low esteem, have depression, and have body dissatisfaction.
It can have lasting effects on your child even after it stops, impacting their health for years to come. So, you must reach out to your child and take them to a mental health professional when you find your child is experiencing negative mental health effects. You can check their social media account or ask them in person to see if something is bothering them.
- Spotting the signs of mental health problems
For some people, depression, anxiety, and mental health concerns may be a new topic. But to help your child overcome it, you must educate yourself. You can check for some warning signs of mental health issues in your child.
Some of the symptoms of mental health problems are given below.
- Changes in weight or appetite
When something in your child’s life is stressing them out, they may lose their appetite, which can cause them to lose weight. However, if your kids tend to overeat when stressed, they will gain weight.
- Mood Swings
A child who gets irritated over things that do not matter, fights with others, or shows unusual behavior may have mental health issues. Further, when they struggle with mental illness, their mood gets off to do something that excites them.
- Change in sleeping patterns
When your children suffer from mental illness, such as stress, depression, and anxiety, it can affect their sleeping habits. Some of the symptoms of these changes are frequent wakings at night, insomnia, oversleeping, or early morning awakenings.
Whenever your child has behavioral health problems caused by mental illness, such as mood swings, changes in sleeping habits, and an increase in appetite, you have to treat them. Treatment for mental health problems typically involves addressing the underlying condition.
- Encouraging open and honest communication
There will be no secrets when you and your children have open communication. Create an environment where your children can open up their hearts without stress.
The first thing you can do is to ask about their day, how their day has been, with whom they spend time, and what they have been doing.
Children can help you with mundane tasks around the house, such as preparing dinner, cleaning dishes, and maintaining rooms. You can use this time to communicate with them.
Tips for active listening and support
- Don’t be judgemental, and stop throwing harsh comments about your child’s behavior. Their morale will be affected, and they won’t want to share anything anymore.
- In fact, you should make your child feel you care about what they feel and want to hear them or out. You can support your children mentally and emotionally by hearing them out. Sharing their feelings can be made easier by your small words of encouragement.
- Even if you think the reason behind their sadness is silly, put yourself in their shoes, and you will realize their point. It’s obvious that your way of thinking will differ from your teens’.
- Further, you may not like what your teens do, but try to compliment them when they do something good. Whenever your children open up about something, respond by saying things like “Yeah, I understand,” “That makes sense,” “I understand,” etc.
It’s essential to have open and honest communication with your child about their mental health and yours. Encourage them to seek help if they need it.
- Supporting healthy habits and lifestyle choices
Children may develop addictions to substances such as drink, smoking, and using drugs. Substance abuse and other negative habits can be extremely dangerous for young people.
These dangers can include physical and psychological health problems. Substance abuse and other negative habits can also lead to addiction, which can be extremely difficult to overcome.
Parents must be aware of their children’s activities and monitor them closely to help prevent these harmful behaviors.
Substance abuse may lead to addiction, health problems, and eventually death. It is important for parents to talk to their children about the dangers of these activities and help them make healthy choices.
Why is it necessary to support healthy habits and lifestyle choices?
When you know what your kid is going through daily, you can set healthy habits and choose a good lifestyle.
Physical and mental health are interconnected, and you must find out how they impact each other. Afterward, you must encourage them to choose healthy lifestyles and habits.
Keeping healthy habits regularly can benefit your teen’s mental health. They are healthy strategies for coping with mental illness.
Some healthy habits are exercise, avoiding junk foods, spending time outdoors, journaling, writing, getting sound sleep, and so on. Help them find what works for them and support them along the way.
Psychological well-being is highly correlated with quality sleep. The more sleep you get, the less stress you are under, your mood will improve, and you’ll be more alert. Further, eating raw fruits and vegetables can also improve physical and mental health and increase your self-esteem. It will reduce depression and anxiety.
Further, physical activity reduces stress and anxiety and improves mood and self-esteem.
- Knowing when and how to seek professional help
If despite applying the above tips, your child does not recover from their mental illness and, in fact, begins to have suicidal thoughts, you should seek professional assistance. This can be from a therapist, support group, or a trusted friend or family member.
Further, when your child suffers from severe mental illness and finds him in danger, you can call 911 or consult a trained counselor. Call 1-800-273-8255 any time to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
And if it’s less urgent, you can contact with the parents whose children are suffering from mental illness and ask them what works for them. Don’t hesitate to seek mental health treatment because of fear of what others will think.
There is still a perception that someone with a mental illness is untrustworthy, broken, or potentially violent. In fact, some people avoid seeking mental health treatment because they are scared of what others will think.
It is crucial for parents to be informed and knowledgeable about teen mental health because they play a vital role in supporting their children during this challenging period of their lives.
By recognizing the signs of mental health problems and encouraging their children to seek help, parents can help prevent serious problems from developing or escalating.
Overall, investing in teen mental health is an investment in the future well-being of our society. The more awareness and understanding we promote, the better teens will cope and reach their goals.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn