How to encourage healthy mental health habits in your teen

December 20, 2022

Tips to help promote mental health in your teenager and tools to help you child navigate their own mental health journey.

Mental health is an important topic for teenagers, as they are at a crucial stage in their development and may be facing a range of challenges that can impact their mental well-being.

Here are some tips for promoting mental health in teens:

  1. Encourage open communication: Encourage your teenager to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and concerns with you, or with a trusted adult or mental health professional. Creating an open and safe space for communication can help your teenager feel heard and understood.
  2. Help them manage stress: Stress is a normal part of life, but it can become overwhelming for teenagers. Help your teenager develop coping skills to manage stress, such as deep breathing, exercise, and setting boundaries.
  3. Encourage healthy habits: Encourage your teenager to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and stay physically active. These habits can help improve their overall well-being and reduce the risk of mental health issues.
  4. Encourage social connections: Encourage your teenager to spend time with friends and engage in activities they enjoy. Strong social connections can provide support and help improve mental health.
  5. Seek help if needed: If your teenager is struggling with mental health issues, don't hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. Early intervention can help prevent more serious problems down the road.
  6. It's important to remember that mental health is a journey and can fluctuate over time. By providing support and encouraging healthy habits, you can help your teenager develop the skills and resilience they need to thrive.
  7. Encourage them to express themselves creatively: Encourage your teenager to engage in creative activities, such as art, music, or writing, as a way to express themselves and manage their emotions.
  8. Help them find purpose and meaning: Encourage your teenager to find activities that give them a sense of purpose and meaning, such as volunteering, participating in sports or clubs, or pursuing a passion.
  9. Encourage self-care: Encourage your teenager to practice self-care, such as taking breaks, getting enough sleep, and setting boundaries.
  10. Model healthy behaviors: As a parent or caregiver, you can model healthy behaviors for your teenager by taking care of your own mental health and seeking help if you need it.
  11. Educate yourself: Learn about mental health and how to support your teenager if they are struggling. There are many resources available, such as mental health professionals, online support groups, and hotlines.

It's important to remember that mental health is a journey and it's okay to not be okay all the time. By providing support and encouraging healthy habits, you can help your teenager develop the skills and resilience they need to thrive.

The Pandemic Effect

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health, including in teenagers. The disruptions caused by the pandemic, such as school closures, social distancing measures, and loss of routine, can be stressful and challenging for teenagers. Many teenagers may also be experiencing additional stressors related to the pandemic, such as financial insecurity, job loss, or worry about getting sick or losing loved ones.

There is evidence that the pandemic has led to an increase in mental health issues among teenagers. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the percentage of teenagers experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression increased significantly during the pandemic.

To support the mental health of teenagers during the pandemic, it is important to:

  • Encourage open communication and provide a safe space for teenagers to talk about their thoughts and feelings
  • Help teenagers manage stress and find healthy ways to cope with the challenges of the pandemic
  • Encourage healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying physically active
  • Encourage social connections, even if they have to be virtual or physically distant
  • Seek help if needed, such as by connecting with a mental health professional or using online resources

It is also important to recognize that the pandemic has effected different groups of teenagers differently, and some may be experiencing more stress and challenges than others. It may be helpful to consider the unique needs and experiences of each teenager and offer support accordingly.

Need our help?

If you would like to speak with someone today about these issues for yourself or a loved one, Open Arms Wellness has compassionate therapists ready to help. Call today to schedule an appointment or a free consultation with one of our qualified professionals. We offer individual, couples, and group therapy options; virtual and in-person.

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will listen to your needs and help guide you to the provider who is best for you or your loved one.

Schedule an Appointment  or call now to get started: (314) 329-4326

This article was published with assistance from a language model trained by OpenAI by Brayden Young