The mental health of teenagers has always been a topic of concern. But the after of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken that concern to a whole new level. The long-term impact of the pandemic on mental health is still unknown, but studies have already suggested that teenagers are particularly vulnerable to negative mental health outcomes.
A recent survey found that the number of teenagers struggling with anxiety or depression has risen enormously in recent years. As parents, you must be proactive in addressing this issue. In this article, we explore some of the things we can all do to help our teenagers who may be struggling with mental health issues.
Mental Health Is as Important as Physical Health
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we need to start treating it that way. Mental health concerns can not be brushed off as “just a phase” or “not a big deal.”
If a teenager is experiencing any mental health concerns, parents need to take their concerns seriously. So, let your teenager know that there is no shame in seeking professional help.
Encourage Them to Talk About How They Feel
Teenagers are often dealing with a lot of pressure and stress, which can make it hard for them to talk about how they are feeling. Encourage your teenager to talk by creating an open dialogue.
Let your teenager know they can always come talk to you or another trusted adult if they are struggling. Similarly, encourage creative outlets such as writing, painting, or music to help them express their emotions.
Practice Self-care as a Family
Parents should model self-care behavior to their teenagers by taking care of their own mental health. Make self-care activities a fun family affair by going for walks/hikes together or attending yoga or meditation classes as a family.
In the long run, this will promote healthy habits and give opportunities to discuss mental health as a family.
Create a Safe & Supportive Home Environment
Home should be a place where teenagers feel safe and supported. Encourage openness and authenticity. But also maintain boundaries for safety. So, parents should listen to and acknowledge their teenager’s feelings. However, there are also times when boundaries are needed for their protection.
If your teenager’s health is harmed by substance abuse, risky behavior, or violence, they may need professional help to overcome those issues.
Thus, mental health concerns among teenagers are not uncommon and it's important for parents and guardians to be proactive in addressing this issue. Likewise, encouraging your teenager to talk, modeling self-care behavior, and creating a safe and supportive home environment can help promote positive mental health and well-being.
So, keep in mind that mental health is just as important as physical health, and by normalizing discussions of mental health, we can help ensure that our teenagers receive the support they need.