Although teens and adolescents often suffer from the same mental health issues as adults, the reasons why they develop these disorders can often be quite different than older men and women. In addition, teens may withdraw from their family, but maintain friendships with their peers at school – making matters more complicated for identifying and treating the problem.
For these reasons, teen mental health treatment programs must offer a unique take on treat that speaks to the needs of young people. To put a child in a program geared towards adults is almost a guarantee that they will not get the most out of the program, or achieve wellness as a result of the treatment.
What are the Most Common Teen Mental Health Issues? There are a number of teen mental illnesses that are much more common among young people of age 12 – 19.
These mental health issues include:
- Bi-polar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
How is Teen Mental Health Treatment Different?
The counselors, therapists and other professionals who work in teen mental health programs are well-versed in the unique needs of young people, and understand the different root causes behind their disorders. Among the most common reasons why teenagers develop mental health issues include:
Stress at home. If parents are fighting, going through a divorce or in constant conflict with their children, it is likely to manifest itself as a teen mental health issue. Kids who do not feel secure in their home environment (or, in a worst case scenario are the victim of physical or sexual abuse) may develop serious mental health problems as a result.
Self-image issues. The teen years are a time of insecurity and often young people will find themselves on the wrong end of self-esteem and self-image issues. Some teens, especially adolescent girls may slip into a deep depression if they feel inadequate in terms of their appearance or social standing. Junior high school and high school are periods when superficiality is the order of the day – which can be difficult for those teens who lack self-confidence.
Academic pressure. For some kids, the pressure to succeed at school can lead to the development of mental health issues. When teenagers feel as if they are letting their parents down or putting their future in jeopardy, depression and anxiety may soon follow.
Relationship issues. Teenagers fall in love easily, but without the experience or maturity of an adult, they will be prone to rash behavior in their relationships. When a boy or girl breaks up with a partner it may push them into a serious depression.
Teens and Depression
Depression is the most common mental health issue found in teenage boys and girls. Everything from school academic performance to issues involving puberty and social status can lead a teen into a downward spiral of depression. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of teen depression include:
- Feeling of hostility or anger
- Moodiness or sudden mood shifts
- Loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities
- Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Fatigue or lack of energy
Helping a young person with depression can be tricky, as they tend to be extremely sensitive and defensive about their condition. Parents are urged to help their child with depression find a treatment program that understands the unique needs of young people.
Why is Teen Mental Health Treatment so Important?
There are a number of key reasons why teen mental health treatment is such an important area of the industry. Teens who suffer from depression, anxiety and other disorders are much more likely to turn to drug and alcohol as a means of self-medicating their symptoms than adults.
This is a time when young people are experimenting with substance abuse, and adding mental health issues into the mix is a recipe for alcoholism or teen drug addiction. Also, the teen years are indeed a formative time in the life of an individual. A mental health issue can impede the development of social skills or an educational track that leads to a bright future.
Finally, there is the potential ultimate price to be paid as a result of a teen mental illness: self-harming behavior or suicide. Allowing a teen’s mental health problem to go unaddressed will push that individual deeper and deeper into the depression. Combine that with the impulsiveness of youth and you have a potentially deadly combination that has led many teenagers to do the unthinkable.
How can Parents Help?
Few parents would knowingly turn a blind eye to their child’s mental health issues however some simply do not know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of these conditions. Step one for parents who suspect their child may be suffering from anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder is to learn the warning signs of these illnesses and watch their own children closely. Second, parents need to make sure that the lines of communication with their kids are always open.
Teenagers are not going to want to talk about their problems (this is simply the nature of the age group) but it is important for parents to remain undeterred. Ask the teenager how they are feeling. Talk to their teachers or school counselors if there is a problem. And most importantly never forget to tell the child how much you love them, and that you are there to support them no matter what they are going through.
Newport Academy understands the unique needs of teenagers who are suffering from mental health issues. This gender-specific treatment facility helps young people and their families overcome debilitating issues that threaten their future. Contact Newport Academy for more information about this very special treatment program.