6 Mental Health Challenges Teens Can Experience

Mental health issues have taken an alarming upturn among today’s teens and adolescents, with more than 40% experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Almost a third report seriously considering suicide or attempting suicide. 

Like other health problems, mental health issues respond best to early treatment. Understanding the issues facing teens today can help you ensure that your child receives medical support and treatment as soon as possible.

The teen health experts at Nevada Pediatric Specialists have significant experience helping teenagers navigate the challenges and obstacles they face in their day-to-day lives. In this post, our team explores six of the most common challenges to mental health and well-being that your teen may be facing.

1. Maintaining healthy parent relationships

For some parents, it might not seem as though the parent-child relationship means much to their teen, especially because teens tend to be wrapped up in the activities (and opinions) of their peers. But even if your child seems disinterested, that underlying bond is still essential for your child’s mental well-being and their senses of belonging and self-esteem.

Word on establishing open and nonjudgmental lines of communication to help your child recognize you as a “safe place” to vent and express themselves. Practice active listening on a regular basis, set aside time to spend with your child doing things they enjoy, and, above all, make sure they see you as a true and unflinching source of love and support.

2. Controlling stress

The teen years are fraught with all sorts of stresses, such as academic and extracurricular performance, relationships, social expectations, and a rapidly evolving sense of self-awareness. No matter how your child seems on the outside, the teen years are a time of deep vulnerability.

Not surprisingly, plenty of teens deal with extreme amounts of stress that can be exacerbated by the 24/7 news cycle and the continual availability of social media and its pressures. Encourage your teen to practice simple stress management activities like deep breathing, and make sure your teen has some daily quiet time devoted solely to enjoyable activities that help them relax. 

3. Managing moods and emotional challenges

The teen years are a time of dramatic hormonal changes for both girls and boys. These hormones influence more than sex characteristics: They also play a major role in mood management and emotions.

As a parent, you can pay close attention to signs of moodiness, irritability, and sadness along with related symptoms like changes in sleep, appetite, or interest in activities. Each of these can be a sign of depression or anxiety, common mental health challenges for many teens today.

4. Achieving a healthy life balance

Imagine being tasked with excelling at work, in your personal and family relationships, in your friendships, and in every hobby you pursue. That’s a lot to expect, yet many teens feel that obligation to do it all — school, friendships, dating, extracurricular activities, and even a part-time job to top it off.

The result: Many teens take on too many responsibilities and set unrealistic goals, leading to chronic stress, depression, and anxiety. 

Encourage your child to find a balance that enables them to be productive in key areas of their life, while also working in time to relax and decompress. Help your teen prioritize their well-being and make sure they have plenty of opportunities for healthy recreation.

5. Practicing self-acceptance

Teens are under a tremendous amount of pressure to know what they want to be for the rest of their lives and to meet the expectations of their teachers, parents, and peers. These pressures and external expectations can lead to feelings of failure, guilt, shame, and hopelessness.

Help your teen understand their own strengths and set realistic goals and expectations without undermining their sense of self-worth and value. Underscore the importance of self-care activities, and remind them that it’s OK to be selective in what they choose to pursue. 

Parents should also be willing to trim their expectations for their child and focus instead on their teen’s overall well-being.

6. Knowing when to ask for help

Fortunately, the stigma that once surrounded mental health issues and treatment is subsiding, but many teens may still be hesitant to ask for help — or they’re unaware that they need it or that resources are available to help them feel better. 

Watch for behavioral changes, and let your child know that it’s OK to ask for help if they need it. Help them understand that just like physical health, mental health also needs attention and maintenance, and seeing a therapist or other mental health specialist can make a big difference.

At Nevada Pediatric Specialists, our team screens for mental health issues during every office visit. To learn more or to schedule an evaluation for your teen in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada, call 702-457-5437 or book an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

7 Newborn Care Tips for Every New Parent

7 Newborn Care Tips for Every New Parent

Having a new baby brings a lot of joy, but it can also be a little nerve-racking, especially for first-time parents. These seven simple tips can help you adjust to your new role so you’ll feel like an old hand in no time at all.
Can My Child Play Sports If They Have Asthma?

Can My Child Play Sports If They Have Asthma?

Asthma can affect a child’s life in many ways, but with the right action plan in place, your child can enjoy the same activities as their peers — including sports. Here’s what you can do to help your child stay active and involved.
5 Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician About Circumcision

5 Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician About Circumcision

Circumcision is one of the most common childhood surgical procedures in the United States. If you’re thinking about having your newborn circumcised, you may have some questions. This post addresses some of the most common concerns.