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How to Improve Adolescent Mental Health

How to improve adolescent mental health

Mental health in adolescents refers to their emotional and psychological well-being. It also includes how they interact with others and build social relationships. Adolescent mental health should be a priority for families, schools, and society as problems continue to rise.

A Harvard report claims the United States is in the middle of an adolescent mental health crisis following the pandemic, which took away factors that create positive mental health in teens. Teens were stuck at home, isolated from the world, worried about financial instability due to a parent losing a job, and fearful a disease could take the life of a loved one.

While things are somewhat returning to “normal,” adolescent mental health still suffers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released findings from a study of the year after the pandemic on teen mental health:

What About Adolescent Mental Health Today?

Mental Health America’s 2022 Youth Data Report presents alarming statistics about the mental health of adolescents today compared to 2021, including the following:

The CDC reports that teens struggle with various mental health disorders, including anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and adolescent substance abuse. Many teens experience co-occurring conditions, meaning they have simultaneous mental health problems. For example, 74% with depression also have anxiety.

With the number of teens with mental illness on the rise, now is the time for everyone to focus on finding ways to improve adolescent mental health. You can start by gaining crucial knowledge, like the facts below.

Risk Factors of Adolescent Mental Health Struggles

There isn’t a single cause for depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. Instead, you want to understand the risk factors that make a teen more likely to develop a mental health disorder. Risk factors include the following:

Signs of Adolescent Mental Health Struggles

No matter your role in a teen’s life, you must know the behaviors that signal a mental health problem. The sooner you notice, the sooner they can receive treatment. Early warning signs to watch out for include the following:

If you detect even one of these in an adolescent, you must take the next step of getting them help. Help can mean many different things, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment model. The overall goal is to outnumber their risk factors with protective factors.

Protective Factors of Adolescent Mental Health

Protective factors are the positive things in a teen’s life that support good mental health. Examples of protective factors include:

Teenagers are not going to have all these protective factors, and they don’t need all of them to improve their mental health. They do enough to outweigh the risk factors, however. You can help them build protective factors.

Helping Adolescents Improve Mental Health

One of the most critical steps in helping an adolescent struggling with mental health issues is to realize you alone cannot fix them. For some, mental illness is a biological issue that requires the help of a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication. For others, mental health issues occur due to abuse.

To help an adolescent all by yourself, you need to be a psychologist, family therapist, psychiatrist, peer, parent, sibling, and much more. It’s impossible. Therefore, you must move to plan B, which involves helping adolescents get to the people who can truly help them.

Below is a brief list of actions you can take to get someone the help they need:

You can make a difference in a teen’s life. Reach out for more information and support. Your mental health is important too.

For more information about adolescent mental health, reach out to the Arrow House in Orange, California.

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