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How to Talk About Mental Health to Teens

Learning how to talk about mental health to teens is an equally difficult task. Teens may not have as much understanding of the root of their emotions as adults. Because their logical reasoning centers are still maturing, they simply may not be able to understand themselves yet fully. Fortunately, mental health disorders are highly treatable. So understanding how to talk about mental health to teens is essential. It is one way to ensure they feel supported if they experience symptoms of a mental health disorder. Navigating adolescence is trying. Balancing personal goals with emotional, social, and intellectual needs while undergoing developmental changes is stressful, uncomfortable, and, at times, embarrassing. The teenage years consist of planning for the future while finding ways to enjoy adolescence. Unfortunately, some teens also have to combat the complexities of mental illness on top of normal responsibilities and adversity.

How to Talk About Mental Health to Teens

Communication is an essential part of any relationship, including relationships between parents and children. Understanding how to talk about mental health to teens is imperative. It is a key way adults can make sure teens feel comfortable expressing troubling thoughts and feelings. Because mental health disorders commonly distort thought processes, it can be difficult for teens to communicate why their emotions are problematic properly. Mental health symptoms can occur at any age. However, most people with a mental health disorder experience their first symptoms before adulthood.  Common symptoms of mental health problems in teens include:

  • Sudden and unexplained changes in behavior
  • Experiencing intense and overwhelming emotions
  • Engaging in self-harm
  • Avoiding friends and family members
  • Sleeping too much (or not enough)
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness

Also, knowing how to talk about mental health to teens requires understanding that symptoms are difficult to control. That means if your teen is dealing with depression, it’s not an emotion that they can simply overcome without help and support. Ensuring that your teen knows that you accept their emotions and are willing to support them in obtaining proper treatment is an important part of properly discussing mental health symptoms with your teen.

How Mental Health Disorders are Treated

Mental health treatment occurs in an inpatient or outpatient setting, with inpatient treatment typically reserved for severe symptoms or crises. Inpatient mental health care is typically short-term. Outpatient treatment involves a mix of evidence-based and holistic therapies. A psychiatrist can diagnose and prescribe medications, which is an important step in the recovery process. Therapy, which focuses on helping you identify and change negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, is another key part of mental health treatment. Learning how to identify triggers, which are people, places, or things, and cope with them reduces symptoms. Each mental health disorder requires a different course of treatment, meaning that treatment is tailored to your individual needs and goals.

Finding Help Today

Learning how to talk about mental health to teens means understanding symptoms can appear at any age. Teens struggling with mental health may be hesitant to discuss their problems, especially because negative stigmas and stereotypes about mental illness are still widespread. So if you have any questions about teens and mental health, or would like to learn more about our teen mental health treatment programs, reach out to us today at 877.466.0620.