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Signs Your Teen Is Struggling With Their Mental Health

a teen shows signs of struggling with their mental health in school

Typical teenage behavior includes mood swings, irritability, and occasional defiance, but these issues can also be symptoms of mental health concerns that are addressed in adolescent treatment programs. Assuming dysfunctional behaviors are a stage your child will grow out of can be a major error.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that around 20% of adolescents are living with a mental health condition of some kind. The adolescent treatment programs at Imagine Boise can help with the diagnosis and treatment of teen behavioral health concerns. Contact Imagine Boise today at 888.597.2807 to learn more.

Assessing Mental Health in Teens

Being a teenager is hard. It’s a time when bodies are changing, hormones are causing confusing emotional upheavals, and every emotion feels like the most important thing in the world.

Teens were already being forced to cope with high levels of pressure before the COVID-19 pandemic. The lingering effects of isolation, school closures, and other pandemic stressors have increased the number of teens struggling with mental health challenges. It is easy to dismiss adolescence as a care-free time, but today’s younger generations must deal with:

  • Bullying
  • School and sports schedules that don’t provide enough unstructured time for resting
  • Worries about climate change and global and domestic conflicts
  • Discrimination of religion, race, disability, body image, gender, and sexual orientation
  • Poverty, food insecurity, and unstable housing
  • Social media pressures

Every child develops their own unique coping skills, and parents can usually recognize which behaviors are “normal” for their child and which are not. However, the more information you have about the signs of mental illness in teens, the better prepared you will be to help your child if a problem arises.

Signs of Poor Mental Health in Teens

Temporarily experiencing one or two symptoms doesn’t automatically mean your child has a mental health disorder or needs the support of a teen behavioral health program. However, if you suspect your teen is struggling with mental health concerns, it’s important to consider their overall experiences. If their struggles seem to be frequent and ongoing, they may need professional support.

Warning signs of mental illness in teens include:

  • Dramatic changes in weight or eating habits, sleep, and everyday habits
  • Frequently canceling plans with close friends
  • Obsessive worries that take over their thoughts
  • A new group of friends that you’ve never met
  • Signs of alcohol or drug use
  • A sudden fall in grades, skipping school, or other academic-related behaviors
  • Refusing to talk about your concerns

Any signs of self-harm, such as burns, bruises, or cuts, should be taken seriously. Self-harm is a sign of emotional distress that is sometimes used as a way to avoid suicide. Self-harming temporarily relieves the pain that might otherwise lead to suicidal thoughts.

Mental Illness in Teens: Which Conditions Are Common?

Adolescents can develop many of the same mental health disorders as adults, though in some cases, the symptoms present differently than they do in adulthood.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence reports that at least 10% of kids have attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder, over 9% experience anxiety that is extreme enough to interfere with daily function, and around 5% of teens are struggling with depression.

Imagine Boise Provides Support for Mental Health in Teens

If you’ve noticed dramatic changes in your adolescent that seem to be more than normal teenage ups and downs, don’t panic. There is effective assistance for teens struggling with mental health. An adolescent behavioral specialist can provide an evaluation and a treatment plan that will help your child find their balance and get back to enjoying their teenage years in a positive way.

At Imagine Boise, we provide a comprehensive program to treat mental illness in teens. Call Imagine Boise today at 888.597.2807 and get your teen back on track for a happy, healthy life. You can also fill out our online contact form and let us get back to you.