Teenagers & Mental Health: An In-depth Guide to Help Support Teens Through Mental Health Counseling by 30Seconds Health
Caring for your child through various life stages is integral to parenthood. As their parent, your role entails providing for their needs from infancy to early adulthood. Their developmental needs should be met with optimal health and wellness as they grow. Your child needs guidance and support regarding their mental and emotional well-being.
A person’s mental and emotional needs and challenges differ according to each developmental milestone. One can experience growth and setbacks at each stage. However, many parents and child development experts believe the adolescent years are the most difficult for children. It’s where they may experience the most drastic changes.
Along with the effects of puberty on the body, it may also affects the child's mental and emotional states. For these reasons, it’s common for teenagers to feel overwhelmed by the changes they experience. And Mom and Dad, you may be wondering how to provide the support and guidance your child needs.
It can be tricky for some parents to encourage their children to open up about difficulties or ask for help when needed. Many mental health experts advise parents to seek mental health counseling to support teenagers in overcoming this challenge.
As their primary care provider, you must equip yourself with sufficient information relevant to supporting your child’s mental health through counseling. Here’s an insightful guide to help you.
Mental Health Counseling Services for Teenagers
Many mental health-care facilities, such as Insight Northwest Counseling, offer counseling services for children and teenagers. These services are designed to help the youth overcome experiences or situations that can cause mental anguish and emotional struggles. Some examples include:
- Sudden and significant life changes, such as moving to a new home or school, or the loss of a loved one. Additionally, changes in family dynamics, such as a divorce, can also cause mental anguish for your child.
- Unaddressed issues in body image that can trigger eating disorders, anxiety and depression.
- Traumatic events that include bullying, witnessing or experiencing violence, sexual abuse and others.
- Exposure to harmful substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
- Peer pressure.
- Problems in handling responsibilities at home or school.
- Academic stress.
Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community report struggling with gender issues at a young age. Parents can support their children through mental health counseling if they experience distress, confusion or embarrassment concerning their gender identity.
Some child can significantly benefit from receiving support from professional counselors and family and friends as they go through the process of self-discovery. When you seek professional help for your teenager, you can expect counselors and therapists to use their techniques based on their expertise.
With each session, the goal of the mental health professional is to give the child a safe space to share thoughts and feelings. This is vital in identifying the root of the problems they’re experiencing. The counselor or therapist will help your child learn ways to cope with their struggles, regulate mood and emotions, and manage behavior.
As they form healthy habits and strengthen their mental and emotional state, your teen may overcome challenges in the long run. Your child’s therapist may recommend and apply the following approaches:
- Narrative Therapy: Narrative therapy refers to a technique wherein the patient is encouraged to separate their individuality from the problem or the traumatic event causing mental distress. This technique may help change your teen’s perspective and encourage them to create new solutions to their issues while relying on their skills and abilities.
- Family Therapy: Family therapy seeks to improve communication and conflict resolution among its members. The therapist should guide the participants toward improving their mental state while deepening their connection and forming a healthy bond with one another. This form of therapy may be helpful for teenagers experiencing conflicts or significant changes in family dynamics.
- Behavioral Therapy: This therapy aims to help the teen unlearn maladaptive responses to mental and emotional struggles. It may also help them develop practices that promote physical and emotional well-being. Suppose your teen has formed unhealthy habits to cope with mental health issues, such as misusing substances, emotional eating or engaging in risky activities. In that case, behavioral therapy may be suitable for them.
- Art Therapy: Art therapy allows teens to improve their problem-solving skills. At the same time, it may also help them boost self-esteem, enhance social competence and learn adaptive behavior. In addition, art therapy can serve as a creative journal that enables teens to depict their journey toward healing.
Besides these, other forms of therapy and counseling may help your child improve their mental and emotional health. Consult with a child psychologist or a mental health counseling facility to know your options.
How to Help Your Child Overcome Mental Health Issues
Adolescence can be challenging for your teens. They may experience various changes that affect their daily lives, how they interact and relate with others, and how they see the world and life in general. These changes can be overwhelming to the point that they affect your child’s mental well-being.
Despite these challenges, there are many ways you can show your love and support to your child, especially if they’re struggling with mental health. Here are some examples:
1. Know When to Seek Help
As a parent, you must know the most common signs of mental distress in teenagers so you can seek help when required. Some symptoms include:
- Noticeable change in behavior.
- Sleep disorders.
- Unusual eating patterns.
- Lack of energy and motivation.
- Sudden changes in school performance.
- Conflicts in relationships.
- Emotional outbursts.
Teenagers who experience mental health challenges could be reluctant to communicate their concerns or seek help. During these times, showing patience, compassion and support is essential. You can ask for professional assistance to help your child feel safe and secure to open up about their problems.
2. Explain the Importance of Mental Health
Teenagers need to learn the importance of mental health to their overall well-being. This may make it easier for them to seek help when needed. As a parent, you can discuss the benefits of having a good mental state, such as:
- Better physical health and fitness.
- Positive mood.
- High energy levels.
- Ability to recover from setbacks easily.
- Healthy relationships with friends and family.
- Better performance at school.
- Improved self-esteem.
- Sense of belonging.
In addition to these benefits, you can also emphasize how having good mental health helps people to feel happier, more contented and optimistic in life. This way, they may be encouraged to look after their well-being and address issues that concern them.
3. Establish Healthy Communication and Trust
Trust is a crucial aspect of the relationship between a parent and their teenager. Having mutual trust strengthens your connection and allows them to feel safe. This may make it easier for them to communicate their needs relevant to their mental and emotional well-being.
You can foster trust and healthy communication between yourself and your child by openly discussing your concerns. Your child should be allowed to freely express their emotions and feel supported and heard by their parents at the same time.
4. Respect Your Child’s Boundaries
Teenagers might seek more freedom and express their desire to build boundaries as they grow older. This behavior is typical, and parents should respect their children’s decisions. As a result, your child will feel heard, valued and respected. Your child will likely trust you more since they feel safe communicating their needs.
5. Help Your Child Stay on Track
Physical health significantly influences your child’s mental and emotional well-being. As their parent, you can help them care for their wellness or stay on track with their recovery plan by doing the following:
- Provide healthy nourishment suitable for your teen’s dietary requirements.
- Promote regular physical exercise, and get involved when you can.
- Assist your child in improving their sleep hygiene and encourage them to get adequate rest regularly.
- Set limitations when it comes to screen time and use of social media applications.
- Explain the detrimental effects of harmful substances such as alcohol and tobacco.
- Help them unlearn risky habits.
You can help your child improve their mental well-being by connecting with friends, family and other people from your support system. Staying associated with your support group may help the child feel a sense of community. This is essential in strengthening their self-esteem and developing a positive outlook.
Many parents of teenagers worry about the impact of the various changes their children experience in their growing years. These changes can be incredibly taxing on their child’s mental well-being, so it’s wise to seek professional help. Additionally, constant struggles with mental and emotional health may impact various aspects of your child’s life. This includes their performance at school, social interactions and relationships, and perspective on life. To help avoid, you need to be able to identify signs that your child is struggling mentally and emotionally. Once you’ve identified the need, you can consider giving them access to professional help and providing them with your guidance and support.
The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.
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