6 Ways to Help Teenagers with Their Mental Health

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6 Ways to Help Teenagers with Their Mental Health

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 13% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 have depression. Anxiety disorders are more prevalent at 32 percent. Most people understand that many teens are struggling with their mental health, but they don't have a solution. Sometimes, the ways to help teenagers struggling with their mental health are complex issues. There are steps you can take, but getting professional help is a good choice. 

6 Ways to Help Teenagers with Their Mental Health

1. Show Empathy
Adults tend to trivialize the problems of teens or offer solutions that don't resonate with the teenager's perspective. This is often because the adult isn't acknowledging or accepting how the teen feels. The adult doesn't really understand how the teen is processing a problem. Acknowledging their frustration, sadness, or confusion gives the teen a sense that you care and allows the opportunity for clarification. It also puts the adult in a position of self-imposed acknowledgement.

2. Listen

Once an adult opens the lines of communication by showing empathy, they must listen to the teen. This doesn't mean offering an opinion or a fixed solution. It means allowing the teen to be heard. It is astounding how often well-intentioned adults will try to empathize but stop short of true empathy by not continuing to listen through the steps of problem-solving. Showing empathy only works if it is a sustained effort. Anything else will seem disingenuous. 

3, Coach

Teens don't need to be told what to do, at least not in most cases. Typically, they need someone to listen and offer support, maybe a suggestion here or there. An adult that forces a solution on a teen may be met with resistance or apathy. Instead, an adult trying to help a teen with mental health should offer guidance and coaching rather than instruction and direction. 

4, Promote Self Care

Everyone knows teenagers don't get enough sleep and have too much screen time, including teens. Instead of forcing bedtimes or enacting penalties for too much phone use, adults should promote teenagers engaging in self-care. Engaging in physical activity or extra-curricular activities might be the self care needed to keep negative activities in check. An overly active teen may need a quiet place or lessened responsibility in order to improve mental wellness. 

5. Provide Assistance

Coaching and guiding don't mean an adult cannot help a teen. Instead, these things provide the opportunity for the teen to explain what type of help is needed. If the teen has open communication with his or her support system, asking for help won't be a problem. Parents or other providers will understand what type of assistance would benefit the teen, so he or she doesn't feel alone and helpless. 

6. Get Help

Finally, all of the previous steps are easy to put into words, but they aren't as easy to execute. It isn't like there's a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health that will rid the world of depression and anxiety. That is why it is good to consult with experts. A licensed professional may have the tools or the environment needed to prevent a teen from making harmful decisions. Fortunately, access to care has widened and includes remote opportunities. It is possible that a teen can get the help they need from the comfort of their mobile device. 

Emotional wellness is integral to every teen's development. Unfortunately, life as a teenager often runs contrary to mental health goals. Sometimes, all that is needed is someone to listen, but help from a licensed professional can be advantageous. 

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