Understanding the Effects and How to Help

April 16, 2024

A teenager in a counseling session with a female counselorThe mental health of children and teens continues to be of widespread concern. In the last decade, young people experienced a 40% increase of feelings of persistent sadness, hopelessness and suicidal ideation, according to a recent study. Additionally, an estimated 49.5% of adolescents have had a mental health disorder at some point in their lives.

Why does this matter?

Mental health issues can affect many areas of a teen’s life, including difficulty making decisions, struggles with school, increased drug use, violence and risky sexual behaviors.

Early intervention and treatment can help improve outcomes

Because many lifelong health habits are established early in life, it is important to promote good mental health by creating strong bonds and relationships. Parents, school administrators and members of the community can all help play a role.

Adults can provide positive examples and encourage healthy ways to help youth cope with difficult emotions such as:

  • Getting regular exercise and enough sleep
  • Staying socially connected
  • Eating well-balanced meals and avoiding alcohol and other substances
  • Using mindfulness to focus on being present in the moment
  • Encouraging open communication
  • Spending time together

If you know a child or teen who may be struggling with a serious mental health issue, know that help is available. We offer no-cost assessments 24/7 and can offer the level of treatment that is right for them.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services