Mental Health for Teens
What does mental health and wellness mean for teens?
It might help to think of mental health as a state of wellbeing.
Mental wellness allows teens to grow and learn, to deal with the usual stresses, take part in school, work and recreation and be part of their family and community.
Terms like mental health and mental wellness can mean different things to different people but experts recognize a few key points as the markers of mental wellness:
- Being able to do the daily tasks of life without much difficulty. That can mean going to school, to work, or being part of a family, a team, or a group without feeling overwhelmed and having major difficulty coping.
- Being able to deal with day to day stresses – such as tests at school, chores at home, or tasks at a job.
- Having some meaningful relationships with people you trust – whether they are family members, friends, or people at school or at work.
- Feeling a degree of satisfaction with life – this does not mean everything has to be perfect – but generally feeling OK about most things, and the things that are not OK are not too difficult.
Thoughts & Feelings
How you feel and think are also a part of your mental health and wellness.
Everyone feels anger, frustration, and worry from time to time and often think things like “my life sucks” or “I never get a break,” but these emotions usually don’t last for long periods. They come and go as real life situations come and go.
Most mental health concerns are short lived, and generally do not affect ALL areas of your life.
It is important to get help early to make sure any mental health concern you might have does not become too big or take over your life.
Here are some signs you can look for if you think there might be a problem:
- Feeling unusually stressed or worried
- Having lots of negative (e.g. sad, worried, self-critical) thoughts
- Not sleeping as well as usual, or sleeping more than usual
- Not eating as much as usual, or eating more than usual
- Being easily irritated, or being angry with friends and family for no reason
- Finding your grades at school are not as good as they should be or used to be
- Being involved in risky behaviour that you would usually avoid like taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol
- Often feeling tense or restless
- Feeling sad or down
- Having trouble concentrating or remembering things
Mental Health Concerns
Concerns with mental health can happen to anyone, at any age, and are the result of a number of factors:
- Biological factors such as a family history of mental health problems
- Trauma such as abuse, neglect, a significant loss, or death
- Self-esteem and coping skills
- Current stressors like excessive stress at school, work or in relationships
- Serious illness or physical injury
- Drug or alcohol use and experimentation
Common mental health problems experienced by young people are anxiety (worrying too much of the time) and depression (feeling sad and tired too much of the time). Other problems include:
- Eating Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Self-Harming behaviors
- Attention Deficit Disorders
What makes a situation a crisis?
Experts agree you are in crisis if you feel desperate and hopeless, are thinking of hurting yourself or someone else or feel alone with no one to turn to.
You are in crisis if you have made a plan to hurt yourself or someone else, have the way to hurt yourself or someone else available or have previously tried to hurt yourself or complete suicide.
Pause, Connect, Reset
Early help with mental wellness can lead to a more complete recovery.
Early help means the symptoms may not become as severe and there is less disruption to home, school, work or community. A good way to help yourself is to Pause, Connect and Reset.
Pause long enough to explore the concerns you have, and get good information that can guide your next steps.
Connect with information, other resources and a helping person if you need it.
Reset your life with good information, hacks for getting help and with a resource you can re-visit over time as your concerns and needs change.