From anxiety disorders to substance abuse to psychotic disorders, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, there are many different types of mental health problems that your teen could be suffering with.
Fortunately, if you are concerned about your teen’s mental health, especially during these unprecedented times, there are several steps you can take to help them manage their condition and support their overall well-being.
Keep the lines of communication open
You may find that your teen is eager to talk to you about any worries or concerns they have, or, more likely, you might find that they keep themselves at a distance from you and are reluctant to open up. Either way, it is vital that you keep the lines of communication open so that your teen feels they can talk to you when they are ready to.
You can encourage your teen to share their feelings by simply asking about their day, inviting them to join in a task or activity with you, or by reminding them that you will always be there for them no matter what.
Accept when you need help
Did you know approximately one in five teenagers suffers with at least one mental health disorder? Even more worryingly, 50% of all mental health issues are established by the age of 14 and a whopping 75% by age 24.
If your teen is struggling with their mental health, it is important that you can identify when your child needs professional help. It is perfectly normal for your teen to feel happy one day and then not so upbeat the next, but if they are suffering with frequent mood swings, are struggling with relationships, not focusing on self-care and/or are showing signs of aggressive or dangerous behavior, you may want to contact a teen mental health treatment center.
The same applies if you think that your teen is struggling with substance abuse. There is no shame in asking for help.
Avoid power struggles
Conflict between parents and teenagers is extremely common. However, if your teen is struggling with their mental health, it is important that you can work through conflict calmly and without any anger.
For teenagers with mental health issues, the world can feel both unpredictable and scary, meaning they are likely to try and exert control at home where they feel most secure. If necessary, walk away and calm down before returning to the issue with your teen when you are feeling more in control.
Look after your own well-being
As a parent it can be all too easy to forget about your own physical and mental health, and this is especially the case if you have a child who is struggling themselves. However, if you want to be able to help your teen, you need to make sure that you are strong enough to do so.
Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed, make time for your own relationships, both with your partner and your friends, and adopt positive coping strategies such as exercising, maintaining your routine, and keeping a journal.
In what ways have you helped your teen deal with mental health issues? Let me know in the comments below!