Teen years can be challenging for both adolescents and their parents. Hormones are raging, emotions are running high, and everyone involved seems at a loss for what to do. A teen’s poor attitude may prompt parents to inflict punishments for misbehavior when it’s actually mental illness that’s the root of the problem. Learning how to recognize mental illness in teens is one way parents can ensure a healthier home life and family system. But it takes more than that to make a difference.
At Ascend, we’re dedicated to helping teens and their families overcome mental illness together. We work tirelessly, fighting the stigma of mental health to ensure every young person who needs help will feel comfortable reaching out. Learn more about what it’s like living with mental illness for a glimpse at the complicated internal struggle many teens face.
Mental Illness in Teens
Adolescents experience mental illness differently than adults, which explains the confusion over whether your child is going through growing pains or truly needs mental health treatment. Some of the signs that your teen may need help for their mental health include:
- Sleeping excessively or struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Drastic changes in appetite, either eating more than usual or not eating much at all.
- Changes in eating habits that correlate with extreme weight gain or loss.
- You suspect they’re abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Their grades are suffering.
- Getting into fights at school.
- Frequent unexplained aches and pains, such as headaches or stomachaches.
- They never seem happy.
It’s normal for your child to feel grumpy or antisocial every so often. However, if your child exhibits these symptoms often and for more than several weeks, you may wish to reach out for help.
The Stigma of Mental Health Conditions
Teenagers already deal with the hurdles of hormonal changes, social pressures, and everyday stress. Unfortunately, because of these additional stressors, mental illness for teens can be incredibly overwhelming. Even worse, the stigma surrounding mental health prevents many teens from finding the support they need.
Some teens experience bullying when their mental health conditions are exposed, while some worry their parents may not take them seriously. Of those teens that do get diagnosed, many may never receive the treatment they need due to lack of finances or insurance coverage issues. These situations often lead to further isolation, loneliness, and low self-esteem as their condition remains untreated.
Combating the Stigma of Mental Illness in Teens
So, how can you help combat the stigma of mental health conditions and ensure that kids get the help they need?
- Encourage your child to accept professional help. Help them see its benefits and let them get on board at their own pace. Have a conversation with them about it but do not force or bribe them to attend treatment.
- Be mindful of how you speak about mental illness. Your teen should never feel judged or disrespected because of their condition.
- Never hold your teen’s mental illness against them and learn how not to enable them because of their diagnosis. Working together through individual counseling and family therapy can teach you better communication and how to set and follow through with healthy boundaries.
- Spread awareness of mental illness in teens to others who may also be struggling with their adolescents at home.
Ascend Treats Mental Illness in Teens
If you have a teen suffering from a mental health condition, reach out to Ascend at 310.388.3713. We can schedule an assessment to determine how we can help you and your family work through mental illness together.