A worthy celebration: Teen mental wellness

A worthy celebration: Teen mental wellness

[5 MIN READ]

In this article:

  • Teens face pressure and stress from just about every angle and that’s leading to rising rates of anxiety, depression, and mental health issues.

  • The first step to help teens cope with stress is learning the facts about teens’ mental well-being.

  • Create strategies that stop teens’ spiral and silence that negative inner voice.

  • A good night’s sleep is key to promoting mental well-being, but most teens aren’t getting the shut-eye they need.

  • Resilience can help them overcome obstacles and bounce back from challenges. Work together to foster a healthy, resilient attitude.

Today’s teens face pressures from many areas of their life; pressure to –

Perform well in school

Pick the perfect college

Participate and excel in sports

Fit in with friends and family

Stay on trend with the latest fads, fashion, and pop culture

All these experiences and struggles happen at a time of physical and emotional change. Teens are navigating new situations in what seems like a new body. It’s something we all went through, but it’s something teens don’t need to go through alone.

And while there’s still much work to be done when it comes to raising awareness of teens’ mental health, great strides have been made in the last few years. So, on World Teen Mental Wellness Day and all month long, we are promoting the many resources available to empower and support our teens.

Celebrate with us by reviewing a few of our favorite articles.

Understanding teens and mental health challenges

Rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions are on the rise – and have been over the past few years. The 2022 Mental Health in America report found that more than 2.5 million youth in the U.S. live with major depression. Multiracial youth are at the greatest risk.

Traditionally, numbers for anxiety are just as high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 4.4 million children and teens (ages 3-17) have been diagnosed with anxiety.

Understanding and learning about common mental health issues teens face is the first step in supporting your child and improving their mental well-being.

Get started with these resources:

Mental health disorders in children: What to know

Promote your teen’s mental health

Teens and mental health

Stop the spiral

We’ve all fallen down the slippery slope of letting negative thoughts overrun our imagination. This is particularly true for teens. Before we know it, they’ve gone from “This homework assignment is hard” to “I’ll never get into college.”

This mental health spiral can catch us all in its trap from time to time. The trick is to find strategies that help pull your teen out of that angst-ridden thinking. One a recent Work2BeWell podcast, Dr. Robin Henderson spoke with three teens about how they talk back to their inner critics. Their advice includes:

  • Change your scenery. A quick walk, a drink of water or just moving into a different room can be enough to quiet that negative self-talk.
  • Picture a stop sign. Visualize a stop sign in your mind and stop those inner voices from imagining the worst-case scenarios.
  • Positive thoughts displace negative ones. Instead of worrying if you did something to make a friend mad, remind yourself of the last time you and that friend had fun together.
  • Distract yourself. Start a new project, read a book or move your body to help stop spiraling into feelings of anxiety, sadness, or worry.
  • Talk to someone. Let a trusted adult or friend know that you’re struggling. Ask them to help you work through whatever worries you’re facing.

Hear more from Catherine, Molly, and Dominic on how to stop the mental spiral.

Sleep and your teen’s mental health

It seems teens are busier than ever with schoolwork, afterschool activities, friends and work. All that leaves less time for sleep – which is critical to supporting their physical, emotional and mental health. In fact, the CDC estimates that 70% of teens aren’t getting the 8-10 hours of sleep they need.

Here’s how you can help:

Is your teen getting enough sleep? 

How to help teenagers get more sleep

Teen circadian rhythms explained

Help them build resilience

It’s inevitable. Your teen will face setbacks, challenges, disappointments, and, yes, even failure. Teaching your child resilience – the ability to overcome or adapt – is a life lesson that will serve them well. But how do you go about it?

The good news is that teaching resilience isn’t much different from preparing your teen for anything else. It starts with an open and honest conversation and (of course) practice, practice, practice.

Get started with these tips:

Helping kids face change and uncertainty

Teens make a difference with mental health through Work2BeWell

Resilience for teens: Got bounce?

We’re in this together

Remember, if you feel at a loss for how to help your teen or notice they are struggling, reach out to your child’s doctor. They can help your teen and your family gets to the bottom of what’s causing their distress and create a plan to get them back on track.

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Related resources

Work2BeWell Podcasts

Helping kids face change and uncertainty

Teens make a difference with mental health through Work2BeWell

Is your teen in an abusive relationship?

Mental health disorders in children: What to know

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.