21 Jul 3 Tips to Support your Teen’s Mental Health
By Naima Yeye
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. For teenagers, Mental health is a significant part in their development and overall well-being. Mentally healthy teens feel happier and more positive about themselves, can regulate their emotions, have healthier relationships with family and friends, manage difficult situations, and feel like they belong to their communities. Teenagers who develop emotional well-being at an early age can thrive in every way. In this blog, we will discuss some tips to develop and/or improve your teen’s mental health.
Talking to your Teenager About Mental Health
You may be wondering, where do I start? Talking to your teen about mental health and what it is can feel uncomfortable but starting the conversation at a young age (as early as 2-3 years old for most) can help them to manage big emotions as well as reduce the stigma around mental health. Though challenging at first, talking openly about mental health with your adolescent, will not only normalize but also support them in understanding their own emotions, name their emotions to express feelings, and allow them to have a higher chance of having good mental health as they transition into adulthood. Next, parents and caregivers can consider how they handle their own feelings. Are you able to show your teen that you too, have strong emotions? Share how you help yourself by taking deep breaths, engaging in mindfulness meditation, journaling, therapy, and more. It’s important for your child to feel that they have your love and support, and they don’t have to go through things on their own. Finally, although it may not always be easy, keeping an open and understanding relationship with your teenager is key. Checking-in with your teen about their feelings and emotions is the best way to stay aware and ensure they have the right treatment and support.
Establish Healthy Routines
Through consistent and predictable routines, teenagers can learn and thrive. Routines can help them feel safe and bring structure and predictability to their lives and allow both teens and adults to stay calm by knowing what to expect. Teenagers learn what to expect from you and what is expected of them. When unexpected things happen that overwhelm them, it can add to the stress and anxiety they’re already experiencing. Establishing a basic schedule can help everyone do their best.
Stress is a major part of our lives. We can’t avoid it, but we can learn the skills to identify and teach our teens the many ways to manage their stress. When young people experience stress, it can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills like drug/alcohol use. If you’re worried that your teenager is undergoing a lot of stress, they can engage in a few simple strategies with your help. Parents can help by:
- Acknowledging their stress.
- Creating a safe and open environment to share feelings & emotions.
- Help them name their triggers.
- Develop coping skills for stress.
- Encourage and help them find other sources of support as needed.
You know your teenager best. Support, understanding, and encouraging words from trusted adults are all important for helping teens develop good mental health skills and emotional well-being. Teenager’s mental health can be treated using a mix of therapy, self-help techniques, and medication. It is important to connect with a mental health professional if you are worried about your teen’s mental health. Should you need additional support with best practices to teach mental health skills or are feeling stuck on what to do for your teen, please contact our office at 212-433-2384/ firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a session with me!