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Adolescence, as we all know, is a rollercoaster. With emotions running high, juggling the responsibilities of school, work, and family, and forging new relationships, every day truly presents new challenges. This is why it’s so critically important for teens (and everyone) to recognize their mental health and take steps towards protecting their emotional wellbeing on a daily basis.
If you believe your teen is experiencing mental health issues, you can help. Speak openly with your teen to understand what they’re going through. If necessary, you may even want to involve a mental health professional or consider teen treatment centers to offer even more support as they develop mechanisms to cope and heal.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at the importance of mental health and offering suggestions for how you can help your teen work to protect their mental health. When someone is healthy both physically and mentally, there’s truly no limit to their potential.
We all know how important it is to maintain and take care of our physical health—but what about your mind, thoughts, and emotions? According to MentalHealth.gov, mental health is a concept that “includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” Your mental health affects every aspect of your life on a daily basis. Unlike what some may think, it’s much more complex than simply your mood at the time. Mental health refers to your mental wellbeing in all facets and how you interact with others and the world around you.
These two concepts are commonly confused for one another, but they are not the same. Mental health is constantly with you, almost as a state of being, while a mental illness signifies a problem with your mental wellbeing. To identify the difference, it helps to make a comparison to physical health, which most of us are more familiar with.
A mental illness is similar to a physical illness, such as the flu or a cold. It negatively impacts your overall mental health, just as the flu might degrade your physical health for a certain time. However, while we have medications for many of our physical ailments (or simply waiting them out like the common cold), mental illnesses are often more difficult to identify and then effectively form a treatment.
Some of the most common mental illnesses for teens include:
While everyone should work to protect their mental health, this should be a particular priority for teens. Navigating the turbulent adolescent years is difficult enough and studies show that a high percentage of teens will suffer from some type of mental illness at some point in their lives. Even if they do not experience a diagnosed mental illness, they can still undergo bouts of poor mental health that affect their confidence, relationships, and overall satisfaction with life.
How can your teen protect their mental health? Read on.
Everyone should focus on protecting their mental health—just how we all value our physical health. In tandem, both work together to allow us to live happy and fulfilling lives. Mental health should not be a topic we avoid, especially with your teen, and it’s critical to serve as a positive role for them as they navigate their teen years. You should also work together to protect their mental health by encouraging exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep, and taking breaks from social media. Making yourself available to talk, while it may seem simple, is also a powerful tool in protecting the mental health of your teen.