Mental health is something that should be taken seriously at any age, but it's especially important to make sure that our teenagers are taking care of their mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one in five teens experiences a serious mental health problem each year. That's a lot of people who could use some help! In this post, we will outline four ways that you can help your teenager with their mental health.
Talk to Your Teenager about Mental Health
This is the first and most important step. Mental health should be talked about openly and without stigma. Let your teenager know that it's okay to talk about their mental health, and encourage them to do so if they're feeling anything other than 100%. If your teenager is reluctant to talk about their mental health, try asking them questions about how they're feeling in general. How was their day? What's been on their mind lately? Just giving them the opportunity to open up can help them feel more comfortable discussing sensitive topics. You can also bring up mental health in the context of celebrities or public figures who have spoken out about their own experiences. This can help normalize the conversation and make it less daunting for your teenager.
Listen to Your Teenager
Once you've opened up the conversation, it's important to actually listen to what your teenager has to say. This can be difficult, especially if they're talking about something that makes you feel uncomfortable. But it's important to resist the urge to judge or dismiss their feelings. Really try to understand where they're coming from. What might be causing their mental health problems? What can you do to help them? Showing that you care and want to help can make a world of difference for your teenager. If you're not sure how to respond, there are plenty of resources available online or from mental health organizations that can help guide the conversation.
Encourage Them to Get Help
If your teenager is struggling with their mental health, encourage them to seek professional help. This could mean meeting with a therapist or counselor or even just talking to their doctor about what they're going through. It's important to make sure that your teenager knows that there's nothing wrong with getting help. In fact, it can be incredibly beneficial! It's nothing to be ashamed of, and it can really make a difference in their life.
Utilizing Coping Mechanisms
There are many different coping mechanisms that can help people deal with mental health problems. Some common ones include exercise, journaling, and spending time in nature. Encourage your teenager to find a coping mechanism that works for them. It might take some trial and error, but it's worth it to find something that helps them feel better. And if they're struggling to find something that works, there are always professional resources available to help. For example, using the acronym dbt accepts. DBT is a form of therapy that helps people learn to cope with difficult emotions in a healthy way. If your teenager is struggling to find a coping mechanism that works for them, DBT might be a good option to explore.
These are only a few of the many ways that you can help your teenager with their mental health. Just remember to be patient, understanding, and there for them when they need you.