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Identifying Mental Health Struggles In Your Teenager

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Identifying Mental Health Struggles In Your Teenager

Adolescence is a time of significant change and transition, and with those changes come significant challenges. Many teens get through this time with little trouble, but some have mental health problems that are hard to spot and treat.

Your child's mental health is paramount, as it influences their health and well-being. Teenagers especially experience unique physical, emotional, and social changes. These changes and some negative incidents or experiences in their lives can lead to mental health issues. You must be able to spot the warning signs of mental health issues in your adolescent and know how to help them get the support they require as a parent or caregiver.

Mental Health in Teens Statistics

Mental health issues in teenagers are more common than many people realize. The concerning statistics below indicate that depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are affecting a significant portion of the adolescent population, highlighting the urgent need for better support and resources.

Adolescent mental health is a global concern, with around 14% of 10 to 19-year-olds experiencing a mental disorder. Anxiety, depression, and behavioral disorders are the top three factors leading to illness and disability in this age group. 

Disturbingly, suicide ranks as the fourth leading cause of death for 15 to 29-year-olds. Without early intervention, these issues may persist into adulthood, leading to physical and mental health problems and limiting their opportunities for a fulfilling life.

In the USA, the figures are equally concerning, with 16% of teens experiencing a major depressive episode in 2022 and 11.5% of high school students experiencing major depressive disorder with severe impairment. 

Shockingly, three in five teens receive no professional mental care for their depression, and very few (only one in three) receive consistent care for their severe depression. 

These figures show how crucial it is to recognize and treat adolescents' mental health issues to give them the care they require to live happy and healthy lives.

(Source: WHO, CDC, MHA)

Does School Cause Depression?

For some teenagers, the pressure to perform academically can be too much, which can cause stressdepression, and anxiety. Besides these, the school also triggers mental health changes like loneliness and poor self-esteem. If your adolescent already has depression, school-related stress can exacerbate it.

Most students experience the following challenges at school that trigger depression:

  • Academic pressure
  • Tough competition for college 
  • Sports competition pressure 
  • Bullying 
  • Social anxiety 
  • Hectic schedule
  • Not having enough relaxation 

Academic pressure can sometimes impact your child's well-being, often triggering perfectionism. Similarly, sports create significant pressure and expectations that might leave your child depressed. Students may also experience bullying in school; in some cases, it's one of the main reasons behind suicides. Often, peer relationships cause extreme stress in your child if they are shy, reserved, or struggling with social anxiety. Teens juggling school, extracurriculars, and social commitments often experience burnout and sleep deprivation, resulting in less time for family and relaxation.

How Does Mental Health Affect Students?

Mental health struggles can negatively impact students' academic engagement, concentration, and social skills. They may also struggle to maintain friendships and experience a decline in academic performance. Addressing mental health struggles early ensures they don't impact your teenager's prospects. Seeking professional support, such as therapy or medication, can effectively manage mental health struggles and improve overall functioning.

How to Help a Teenager With Anxiety?

Teenagers commonly experience anxiety about upcoming events and situations. This is a natural feeling, but your support can help them learn to manage their anxiety and develop resilience.

Here are three ways you can help your teen manage anxiety:

  1. Try to understand the root cause of your child's anxiety and talk to them. Having an open conversation might help them feel less anxious. 
  2. Show empathy and be supportive. Being compassionate and optimistic about the situation will dismiss your child's fear, boost their confidence, and help them believe they can overcome any problem. 
  3. Encourage them when they try to overcome their anxiety. Instead of pushing them too hard, encourage them to follow small goals to complete a big challenge. 

If you are concerned about your teenager's mental health, many resources are available to help. Flagler Health offers expert behavioral health services for individuals facing mental health challenges. Their compassionate clinical team provides exceptional care that supports your overall well-being.

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre will play host to the free BRAVE Summit on March 29, 2023, which will empower young people to learn about mental health. You can find out more about our offerings and how we can support the mental health of a teenager by visiting our website.