How to Help Teens With Mental Health Issues

Teenagers have a lot of difficulties going on in their lives. Between school, work, a social life, and preparing for their future, there’s a lot that can cause them stress. To help your teen through any mental health issues, consider the following tips. 

Give Them Your Full Attention

Coming clean about the things you’re struggling with mentally is extremely difficult. It’s an incredibly vulnerable place for a teen to put themselves in, and it’s easy for them to interpret your reactions in a negative way. This makes it incredibly important for you to give teens your full attention when they come to you about mental health issues. Put down your phone or other electronic device and just listen. Studies show that people feel less emotionally connected in a conversation when the other person is on their phone. Take the time and effort to show them that you’re really listening to what they have to say, and that you’re there for them. This support alone can make all the difference in their feeling accepted and understood. New Pathways For Youth is an organization that works directly with teens to mentor them through these difficult times.

Provide Realistic Solutions

When teenagers (or adults or children) are in the midst of mental health struggles, it becomes incredibly difficult for them to be able to logically think of how to feel better. The answers can seem obvious to you, but the teens don’t have the brain power to think of them. Instead of becoming frustrated by their inability to think clearly, try coming down to their level. Take things slow, and suggest a small, manageable step they can take to feel a little better. You might have to work through several options until they find one that they have the energy to do. It’s important to remember that they’re not functioning at full capacity. Try to be patient with them, and find realistic solutions that could work for them.

Be There For Continued Help

Mental health issues don’t just go away overnight. Often, it takes a while to implement healthy coping mechanisms or to find medication that can make things better. This means that, if you really want to help teens with mental health issues, you need to be a continuous source of support until they’re feeling more stable. Let them know that it’s okay if things don’t get better right away. Tell them that if they continue to struggle, they can come to you again. They need to know that you’re on their team, and willing to help them through this hard time. New Pathways’ programs are designed to help teenagers through every step of their mental health journey.

Mental health issues are becoming increasingly common, especially among teenagers. Having a strong support system helps them to feel more hope for the future during these dark times. Try utilizing some of these tips to help your teen through their mental health issues.

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