Being a teenager is an exciting but volatile time. There are so many changes — physically, hormonally, and developmentally. Teens have a natural inclination to want to grow up fast, try new things, and push boundaries. Yet they continue to have many of the same needs as when they were younger, and need as much adult guidance and supervision as ever (if not more).
Mental health struggles are common during the teen years — 1 in 5 teens deal with mental illness — but many teens don’t get the help they need. Teens have always been at risk for mental health conditions, but it seems the incidence of issues has increased recently. The number of teens going to the ER for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts has doubled since 2007. This is all the more reason why all of us need to take teen mental health seriously.
Parents need to understand how important it is to tend to their teens’ mental health — it’s just as important as grades, accomplishments, or college admissions. Teens should know that attending to their mental health is an example of strength rather than weakness, and it is possible to find a counselor or therapist who they relate to and feel safe with.