Most parents often neglect their teen’s actions and behaviors. They sideline their kid’s actions, assuming that teenagers are rebellious. However, those actions may result from your child’s mental health issues.
Children’s mental health is vital to their overall well-being. It consists of children’s behavioral, emotional, and mental well-being. And it affects how children act, think and feel. In addition, it affects how children make healthy choices, relate to others, and handle stress.
According to statistics, 14%(1 in 7) of children between 10-19 suffer from a mental disorder. Anxiety, depression, and behavior problems are its leading causes.
Anxiety and depression can give rise to serious, alarming issues. As per recent data, 18.8% seriously considered attempting suicide. Therefore, paying attention to a child’s mental health is crucial.
But, many teens don’t share these thoughts with their parents. That’s why it is a daunting task to raise a mentally healthy child. For your ease, here in this article, we will discuss everything about teens’ mental health that, as a parent, you must know.
Mental health issues are relatively common in teenagers, with around 1 in 7 teens experiencing some form of mental illness. However, many teens with mental health problems do not get the help they need. This is often because the signs of mental illness can be subtle and easy to miss.
While most parents are confident they recognize their children’s mental health issues, few say their mental health care provider regularly screens for mental illness, or it’s easy to get assistance once they identify a problem.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it’s important to be able to identify the signs of mental health issues in teenagers.
Fortunately, there are some signs you can look for that may indicate your child is struggling with their mental health. If you notice your child is exhibiting any of the following signs, it’s important to reach out to a mental health professional for help:
- Restless, tense, or tense-feeling
- Feeling muscle tension
- Being easily fatigued
- Controlling worry levels is difficult
- Has low or no energy
- Does not have a physical explanation for frequent stomachaches or headaches.
- Experiencing the intense, inexhaustible activity
- Eating habit changes
- Experiencing irritability
- Struggling with concentration
- Sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or feeling tired.
- Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs
- Engages in risky, destructive behavior
- Harms themself, such as cutting or burning their skin.
- Avoids socializing with friends.
- Constantly throws tantrums or is irritable.
- Gradually declines or struggles in school.
- Sleeps poorly and has frequent nightmares
- Never sits still for long periods, constantly in motion.
- Thinks their mind is controlled or out of control and hear voices.
- Often feels anxious or worried.
- Loses interest in things they used to enjoy
- Has thoughts of suicide
- Fears of gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively.
Stress-related factors, such as peer pressure, media exposure, family life, relationships with peers, and sexual identity, can contribute to depression in teenagers. Therefore, parents must always support their children. When you know the warning signs, you’re in the best position to know when and if something is amiss in their world.
When you show them support, it helps them to deal with difficult situations, and you are always there for them. Follow the tips below to show your support for teens’ mental health.
An open line of communication can eliminate half of your child’s problems. So try to engage with them, and ask about their daily activities.
Help them with their school work, or invite them to help you in your household activities. By doing so, you will get time to chat and discuss day to day activities of your child.
Let your child speak more instead of talking. Let them know that you are there for them and that you want to hear their opinions and feelings. Don’t try to give suggestions based on your experience before you listen to them.
Teens normally avoid talking about touchy subjects. Mainly when they think others will judge or be punished, they try to avoid talking.
Make it clear that they can tell anything, and you won’t judge them. Create a judgment-free and supportive environment.
They will feel more comfortable sharing their feelings when you just say a few encouraging words.
In difficult times, young people may lack hope that anything will change. And for teens who battle depression or suffer from severe anxiety, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel can be difficult.
Further, they may feel that no one can help, so seeking a professional also wastes time. And this is what came as the most significant barrier.
Perhaps the most interesting thing you can do as a parent is reinforcing that professionals can help. Educate your child that healthcare professionals have years of experience, and their experiences can help you to get treatment.
When you think a child’s mental health worsens, ask for professional help. Professionals maintain privacy, and children can share everything with them.
As adolescents experience puberty, hormones can sometimes cause chaos in their thinking. Aside from genetics and environmental factors, this also contributes to teens’ vulnerability to mental health or behavioral disorders.
There are many mental health issues that you can find in your teens. When discussing common signs of mental health issues in children, it is important to realize that some children present with a limited number of these symptoms while others exhibit many.
When parents or sitters observe behaviors that may be problematic, they need to remain vigilant.
Adolescents’ most common mental illnesses are attention, anxiety, and behavior disorders.
Teens’ depression can appear in many forms. In children with depression, the following common symptoms may be present:
- Oversleeping or not sleeping enough
- Loss of interest in former pleasures and joys
- Felt guilt for situations that are not the child’s fault
- Energy loss, in general
- Having difficulty concentrating in class or at home
- An increase or decrease in appetite
- Instability regarding situations that shouldn’t cause anxiety
It depends on the exact anxiety disorder in children and how anxiety manifests. However, panic attacks are among the most severe anxiety problems.
You can quickly de-escalate a panic attack once you identify it. As a result, the child is less distressed.
The following are some of the most common symptoms of panic attacks:
- In the middle of the chest, there is a sharp, stabbing pain.
- When extreme stress occurs, an attack occurs suddenly.
- Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
- Shaking and sweating excessively.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Feelings of tingling in the hands
Besides depression and anxiety, your child might develop an eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorders are among the most popular eating disorders.
Some other anorexia symptoms include poor exercise habits, rapid weight loss, eating small meals and refusing to eat sometime, and loss of hair.
A child with an eating disorder might reject the claim that they are trying to lose weight. Identifying a condition without extra information, such as tracking weight gain or loss at doctor’s appointments, can be challenging. A pediatrician’s annual examination can help identify eating disorders and track weight changes.
Often, children with bulimia avoid calories by vomiting or using laxatives. Damaged fingernails and poor oral hygiene can also characterize bulimia.
Overeating and binge eating disorders are other common conditions that cause weight gain. Children may eat even if they are full, unhungry, or extremely full.
Additionally, they may quickly consume large amounts of food within a few hours. A binge eating disorder is not characterized by excessive exercise, vomiting, or laxative use.
People suffering from an eating disorder should receive immediate treatment because they can damage their health in several ways, including their hearts and other organs.
The highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse was found among adolescents who had previously experienced anxiety disorders (17.3% and 20%, respectively) and behavior disorders (15.6% and 24%). The most common substances teens use are tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs such as marijuana, and prescription drugs.
Substance use disorder may affect teens’ brains and bodies. Some other issuing regarding substance abuse are:
- Developing risky behavior, such as drunk, drinking.
- Negative effect on growth and development of teens.
- Inducing high blood pressure or heart disease later in life.
Normally, teens hide their substance use habits from their parents. The problem of teen excessive substance abuse is, therefore, difficult for parents to diagnose and treat.
However, if your teen has a substance use disorder, you should talk with a doctor about rehabilitative treatment.
When parents are not there to watch, or they are not in the home, teens consume drugs. It’s better for parents to notice the signs that show a possible substance use disorder.
Different people have different ways of handling the situation. But to treat your child and adolescent mental health problems, you can use effective parenting strategies.
The stress of everyday life has been experienced by every one of us at least once. So, you can suggest how to cope with that stress to your child.
Excessive stress can lead to mental illness in children. You can apply a stress management plan that helps your child to cope with stress. It contains skills like breaking down issues into manageable ones and the importance of reaching out for help.
When you know your child is dealing with mental health concerns, think of the actual cause. Educate yourself about the possible effects of the issue. Try to solve them and be supportive.
A family’s mental health impacts the environment there as well. So, if you also have some mental illness, consider the issues and try to solve them.
There is nothing wrong with seeking help. In fact, reaching out for professional assistance is a symbol of strength.
When your child deals with excessive stress, they need help from experts with special training in therapy or counseling. Experts will help you to cope with the situation.
In maximum cases, we ignore the signs of mental illness without understanding its effects. Unfortunately, some children’s treatable and diagnosable mental health also didn’t get the treatment they needed.
Consult professionals whether you need assistance for yourself or for your child.
Youth mental health deserves our attention since adults are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of these young people. We feel better when they feel better.
There is still a perception that someone with a mental illness is untrustworthy, broken, or potentially violent. In fact, some people avoid seeking mental health treatment because they are scared of what others will think.
Without proper treatment, adolescents often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Attempts at self-harm and suicidal ideations can also result from untreated mental health issues. And when they are left untreated, mental health problems can get worse. Luckily there are different mental illnesses that you can treat. You only need to pinpoint the diagnosis.
Hopefully, this article can help you if you’re worried about your teen’s mental health.