Things You Can Do to Support Your Teen’s Mental Health
Mental health is an important aspect of overall health and well-being. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five American adults have a mental illness. This means that if you have a teen, there’s a good chance they will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their life.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting your teen’s mental health, there are certain things you can do to help them achieve and maintain good mental health.
At High School of America, we understand the importance of supporting our students’ mental health and well-being. That’s why we offer a variety of programs and services that help our students stay mentally healthy.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips to support your teen’s mental health. Continue reading to learn more!
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to her or his community.
There are many different types of mental health disorders, and they can affect people of any age. Some common mental health disorders include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, and addiction.
Signs of Mental Health Problems in Online High School Students
If you’re concerned that your teen may be experiencing a mental health problem, look for the following signs:
- Changes in mood or behavior, such as being more irritable, angry, or aggressive than usual
- Excessive worry or anxiety
- Feeling sad or down most of the time
- Withdrawing from friends and activities
- Having problems concentrating or paying attention
- Experiencing frequent physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue
- Engaging in self-harm behaviors, such as cutting or burning oneself
- Thinking about suicide or making suicide plans
How Can I Tell If My Teen Is Struggling with a Mental Health Issue?
It can be difficult to tell if your teen is struggling with a mental health issue, as many teens try to hide their problems from their parents. However, there are some signs that may indicate that your teen is having difficulties.
If your teen has been acting differently than usual, seems isolated or withdrawn, has lost interest in activities they used to enjoy, or is having problems at school, it’s possible that they are struggling with a mental health issue.
Why Should You Be Concerned About Your Online High School’s Mental Health?
As a parent, you should be concerned about the mental health of your online high school student because:
- Mental health problems can interfere with your teen’s ability to learn and succeed in school.
- Untreated mental health disorders can lead to addiction, physical health problems, and even suicide.
- Early diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders is key to preventing long-term problems.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting teen mental health – it takes a team effort involving parents, teachers, counselors, and other professionals.
- Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being – it’s not something to be ashamed of or ignore.
Tips on How to Help a Teenager with Mental Health Issues
There are many ways that you can help your teen if they are struggling with a mental health disorder. Here are some of the tips:
1. Educate yourself about teen mental health
It’s important that you have a general understanding of teen mental health disorders so you can better support your teen. Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of common mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.
2. Talk to your teen about their thoughts and feelings
One of the best things you can do for your teen is to encourage them to talk openly about their thoughts and feelings. Ask them how they’re doing, what’s been going on at school or home, and if they have any concerns or worries. Let them know it’s okay to talk to you about anything and everything.
3. Create a safe and supportive environment for your teen
Make sure your home is a place where your teen feels safe and welcome to express themselves openly. Try to avoid judgmental comments or behaviors, and offer emotional support when needed.
4. Promote good sleep habits
Teens need about eight hours of sleep per night, but many don’t get enough sleep due to late-night studying, socializing, or watching TV. Lack of sleep can lead to moodiness, irritability, and poor decision-making.
To help your teen get the recommended amount of sleep, promote good sleep habits such as shutting off electronics an hour before bedtime and avoiding caffeine and sugary drinks late in the day.
5. Encourage healthy eating habits
A balanced diet is essential for good mental health. Teens who eat junk food or fast food are more likely to experience mood swings, anxiety, and depression. To help your teen maintain a healthy diet, encourage them to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
6. Promote physical activity
Exercise is not only good for the body, but it’s also good for the mind. A recent study published in The Lancet showed that people who participated in moderate to vigorous physical activity had a lower risk of developing mental health disorders.
To help your teen stay physically active, encourage them to participate in activities they enjoy, such as sports, hiking, or biking.
7. Promote positive body image
Teens who have a negative body image are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. To help your teen develop a healthy body image, promote positive messages about body image and encourage them to value things that are not related to their appearance.
8. Help them access mental health services
If your teen is experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder, it’s important to get them the help they need. Many teens don’t seek help because they’re afraid of being judged or they don’t know where to go for help.
You can help your teen find the right mental health services by doing some research on your own and by helping them build a support system of friends or family members who can offer emotional support.
9. Seek professional help if needed
If you feel like your teen is in danger of harming themselves or others, it’s important to seek professional help right away. Teens who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or severe mood swings should see a mental health specialist.
10. Listen to your teen without judgment
One of the best things you can do as a parent is to listen to your teen without judgment simply. Ask them questions about what they’re feeling and thinking, and be there for them when they need emotional support. This can be incredibly helpful in preventing mental health disorders from developing.
11. Show your teen you care
One of the best ways to show your teen that you care is by being there for them when they need it most. Offer emotional support, listen without judgment, and be a shoulder to cry on. Let your teen know that you’re always available to talk whenever they need it.
12. Offer practical support and solutions
Teens often feel overwhelmed with the amount of stress they experience in their lives. Offer practical support and solutions to help them manage their stress.
This could include helping them organize their time, providing them with lists of helpful resources, or encouraging them to participate in relaxation activities such as yoga or meditation.
13. Don’t dismiss their feelings or downplay their experiences
It’s important to remember that your teen’s feelings are valid, even if you don’t understand what they’re going through. Don’t dismiss their feelings or downplay their experiences. Offer them your support and understanding, and let them know that you’re there for them no matter what.
14. Encourage positive self-talk
Teens often engage in negative self-talk, which can harm their mental health. Encourage your teen to engage in positive self-talk instead. This could include telling themselves that they’re capable of doing anything they set their mind to or reminding themselves that they’re loved and supported.
15. Teach them how to deal with stress
Teens experience a lot of stress in their lives, and it’s important to teach them how to deal with it. Help your teen develop healthy coping mechanisms such as exercise, journaling, or talking to a friend. Let them know that it’s okay to ask for help when they feel overwhelmed.
16. Encourage them to socialize with positive people
Teens need to socialize with positive people in order to maintain their mental health. Encourage your teen to spend time with friends who make them feel good about themselves and discourage them from spending time with negative or toxic people.
Mental health is an important issue for all teenagers, and it’s something that we should be talking about openly and honestly.
If you are a parent of a teenager, please take the time to learn about the signs of mental illness and what you can do to support your child. And if you feel like your teen is in crisis, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Contact High School of America today—we’re here to listen and provide resources for both parents and teens.