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Teenagers are just as prone to mental health issues as adults and as their brains are still developing (right into late twenties, early thirties in most cases), it’s very important to identify what’s going on so we can offer the appropriate support and treatment and ensure that any early signs of stress, depression or anxiety don’t turn into more significant mental health issues in adult life. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some coping strategies that you can employ. 

What types of mental health issues affect teens? 

We all know that teens are more than capable of being moody, sulky and emotionally reactive, but acting in this way does not necessarily mean they are suffering from depression. Clinical depression, however, is a very real, very serious mental health condition that must be identified and treated. If the unruly emotions are lasting longer than usual, stronger in intensity and changes in mood, diet, sleep and behavior are significantly affecting relationships, school life and grades then it’s time to act. 

Alongside depression, anxiety can have a massive impact on a young life, affecting school, friendships and their sense of confident wellbeing. Anxiety is very common in teens, especially as they start to look outwards at the world, try to become more independent and deal with significant change at the same time as their brain is literally trying tor re-wire itself. 

Teen mental health coping strategies 

A few ways you can support yourself and your teen as you deal with common mental health issues: 
Be open, loving and nurturing towards your teen, show them that they are safe and wanted. Take an interest in their interests, supporting and praising the things they show passion for. 

Spend quality time with your teen, be present with them, not your phone. 

Encourage productive, honest and open communication with your teen. Be someone they can trust. 

Always deal with the problem straight away, while they are small, before they grow and become harder to manage. 

Help them avoid drugs and alcohol and seek professional help if you need support for substance abuse such as Ignite Teen Treatment – a facility that specializes in treatment for teenagers. 

Promote physical exercise as much as possible; this is critical for physical as well as mental wellbeing and will especially help with confidence and sleep, two very important teen mental health goals. 

Keep an eye on healthy nutritional habits. Teens are blasted from all sides by the insidious marketing strategies of fast food, sugar and caffeine drink industries. Help them to understand why good nutrition is important and set good examples with fresh, vegetable-heavy mealtimes. 

If you need support, reach out to your doctor, trusted friends, other parents who may be going through similar issues. Try to generate a positive support network you can rely on when things are tough.

Sleep is critical for mental health, teen brain development and physical repair, arguably more important than diet and exercise when it comes to overall health. Anything you can do to help such as keeping bedrooms screen/WiFi free and promoting healthy non-phone zones would be a very good idea.