26 Jan How to Help Your Teen Achieve Mental Wellness (Mental Wellness Month 2021)
Mental wellness is a topic that is getting plenty of attention lately from families, businesses, and the government. There are plenty of reasons why this is the case. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), millions of Americans are battling mental health disorders. Figures from the CDC indicate that 1 in every 5 American adults are living with mental illness. This translates to 51.5 million adults in the nation.
Children are also facing the brunt of mental illnesses, which affects how they learn, behave and grow. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 9.4% of kids aged between 2 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, 7.4% exhibited behavior problems, 7.1% showing signs of anxiety, and 3.2% were diagnosed with symptoms of depression. This translates to close to 17 million children and teens battling mental disorders. According to the CDC, some common mental disorders among children and teens include anxiety, stress, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The statistics are bleak for teens. The National Alliance of Mental Illness estimates that cases of depression have shot up by over 35 percent in recent times. The Alliance also estimates that 20% of youth between 13 to 18 years are struggling with mental disorders annually. The mental illnesses among teens manifest as early as 14 years, indicating the importance of early intervention.
Strategies for Promoting Mental Wellness
For parents of teens, the above statistics might be difficult to read and comprehend. The good news is that there are plenty of strategies that can be deployed to help teens struggling with mental disorders. Here are ways to help teens attain mental wellness.
Engaging in Physical Exercises
Most teens try protecting themselves from boredom and mental disorders by indulging in video games, chatting on social media platforms, and spending countless hours behind the screen. These are activities that isolate them from deeper problems. To help teens fight mental issues, encourage them to engage in physical exercises. Exercise helps not only in improving their physical health; it is also indispensable in enhancing mental health. Physical exercise helps teens release anxiety, fight depression, deals with trauma, enhance their sense of self-worth and confidence, and get better sleep.
Create Awareness on Mental Wellness
Mental health education is an important part of improving mental wellness among teens. Teens must be made aware of the prevalent mental issues of our time. This might include outlining the common signs and symptoms of different mental disorders. Educating teens allows them to identify what is normal or abnormal in how they feel, think or act. The ability to self-diagnose is important as it will elicit a corrective action, such as speaking up and seeking help. Part of mental wellness education should also include attempts to normalize mental disorders. Teens should be made aware that mental illness can afflict anyone and not restricted to a special group. This will instill the belief that mental issues are not insurmountable. For anyone looking to learn more about mental health, the National Institute of Mental Health keeps an amazing database of various topics on its website.
Keep Open Communication Channels
Teens face many issues such as poor grades in school, emotional and physical abuse, and a feeling of abandonment. When teens are in such situations, finding someone they can speak to is critical. The family is the first point of contact and provides the most effective sounding board for teen mental issues. Encourage your teenage child to speak up when facing difficult issues in their lives. Provide a friendly platform for them to communicate. Avoid the temptation to judge, as this may discourage future engagement. It is also important to encourage teens to journal about their life experiences. Try and find a solution together rather than imposing what you feel is the right decision.
Cultivate Healthy Sleeping Habits
Millions of Americans are experiencing sleeping disorders, according to the American Sleep Association. The major causes of sleeping disorders among teens are the long hours spent behind screens such as smartphones, televisions, and video games. The emission of blue light from these gadgets disrupts the circadian rhythm, and the consequences are brutal. These include weakening of the immune system, memory loss, frequent mood swings, and trouble concentrating. Getting enough sleep for teens has immense positive effects such as higher concentration during the day, an increase in alertness, and gives the brain enough time to rejuvenate. Encourage your teens to avoid gadgets at least two hours before bedtime, implement a regular sleep-wake cycle, and help them avoid meals a few hours before going to bed.
Encourage Teens to Keep Pets
Pets are brilliant companions for everyone, including teens struggling with loneliness and mental health issues. In recent times, there has been a movement towards keeping therapy dogs for companionship. Teens can make do with such pets for emotional balance. Simple activities such as tending to the animal, walking the dog in the neighborhood, and jogging with the pet elicit positive feelings, helping teens experience mental calmness. Other animals known to provide therapeutic effects to teens include cats, horses, and parrots.
Get Professional Intervention for Mental Wellness
Seeking professional help should always be an option. However, you need not wait until it’s too late, as early intervention helps in arresting mental issues before they become intractable. At ViewPoint Center, we are an accredited, supportive facility designed to protect and nurture struggling teens. Let our team of expert caretakers work with your teenage child to establish the most precise diagnosis and implement a personalized treatment plan. Our programs are grounded in empirical research and directed by trained professionals with years of clinical experience. We are located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact ViewPoint today and let us help your teen back to their best self.