According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 50 percent of lifelong mental illnesses are already developed by age 14. Seeming to imply to never take our teen’s mental health lightly. Sure, teenagers tend to be dramatic and emotional (it’s a hard time—let’s not pretend we weren’t a tad moody during our teen years), but that doesn’t mean we can justify brushing off serious issues as “teen drama.” There really could be an underlying problem.
In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders affect as many as one in eight children. Yet, up to 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder aren’t getting treated. ADAA also notes that anxiety disorders can escalate into other problems and that they often do. For example, they say that, frequently, an adolescent with an anxiety disorder will also struggle with another secondary mental health issue like depression, an eating disorder, or ADHD.
Therefore, it is crucial to take our teen’s mental health needs very seriously as they can quickly turn into lifelong issues and trauma. Check out these three different types of mental health treatments for teens:
Education-based counseling services
Most schools in the united states will assign a student to a counselor once they are enrolled automatically. Generally, this is so that the student and the parent(s) know who to go to when academic questions arise (like what classes to take, what colleges to apply for, etc.). But a lot of times an academic counselor also has certificates in regular counseling as well. This means that when it comes to a suspected mental health problem, talking to a school counselor can be a good first step (especially considering that this service tends to be free).
According to Teens Health, since school counselors have so much experience with teen advice, they are very likely to have already helped out with a similar problem before (probably many times) and are therefore equipped with all the tools necessary to help teens work through their problems. Plus, often, even when a school counselor does not have the expertise to help with the problem, they will have a bunch of resources to help us find where to go for help with our problem.
Mental health services specifically for transgender teens
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, transgender teens and teens struggling with their sexuality “have higher rates of mental disorder diagnoses than other youth in a national sample.” This tends to mean that if our teenaged children are struggling with their gender identity and/or their sexuality, then it’s even more important to be there for them and be open to getting them transgender youth mental health services once they’re ready to talk about their struggles.
Being there for our kids is always important, but it’s perhaps especially important when they’re experiencing a crisis of gender during a period when nearly everyone is struggling to find themselves.
General medical services for mental health
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, as of 2016, a mere 41 percent of the 3.1 million kids who experienced issues with depression in the previous year ever received treatment.
It has been speculated that this could be due to a variety of causes. Specifically, a stigma surrounding mental health issues and confusion over not knowing how to start. Being a teenager is confusing enough without having to deal with a mental health problem on top of everything else. It’s important to not let our teens sacrifice “fitting in” in exchange for their mental health.
Especially considering that, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, psychotherapy can help teens and their families better grasp and solve their problems, adjust their problematic behaviors, and make worthwhile adjustments in their lives. Plus, a mental health professional is likely to know if there is a bigger problem than we are seeing and/or if our teen could benefit from any medications. Either way, they are trained to help our teens find a treatment plan that works best for them