Mental health is a crucial aspect of healthy development in teens. In this highly modernized and digitized age, teenagers experience unique difficulties that are much different than ever before – including social pressures revolving around social media.
Socializing is now instantly available online, and a teen’s identity is often wrapped up in their social media profile. This can affect the teenager’s mental health in different ways.
As a parent, you are naturally concerned about your teen’s mental health and what the internet is doing to them socially and psychologically. Let’s talk about some of the issues surrounding adolescence and early adulthood as it relates to mental health, and where you can go in Purchase for outstanding medical support for your child.
Signs of Mental Health Struggles in Teens
Your child may have mental health issues if they are exhibiting one or more of the following:
- Persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Displaying fearful behavior
- Poor school performance
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Spending excessive time on social media and feeling sad or anxious afterward
- An obsessive preoccupation with their physical appearance such as skin, weight, and clothing choices
- Changes in appetite (overeating or not eating at all)
- Experiencing physical symptoms such as body pain, headaches, and stomachaches
- Difficulty regulating emotions
- Displaying aggressive behavior
- Having trouble socializing in-person
How to Help Teens Improve Their Mental Health
Some ideas for how to help your child have better self-esteem, confidence, and overall mental health include the following:
- Give your teen love, attention, and support at their comfort level. Teenagers who have a strong and supportive relationship with their parent(s) are more likely to find it easier to overcome mental health struggles. Encourage your teen to talk about what they’re dealing with, and make sure your teenager knows that you are always there.
A good approach is to share some of what you remember going through when you were around their age, and be sure to be positive yet direct about what you learned and why. Remind them that every adult was once a teenager.
- Model proper sleep habits. Getting enough sleep at night is important to overall health, especially during the teenage years when children are still growing. (Our bones are still growing into our 20s!) Lack of sleep is linked to depression and unhealthy coping mechanisms, so set a bedtime and be consistent with it.
Electronic devices should be turned off at least an hour before sleep – make it a whole-family policy and make sure everyone participates, including you. The teen should also be allowed to sleep in one day every week, which is Saturdays for most families.
- Communicate the importance of being physically active. Physical activity increases our natural serotonin levels, and this chemical helps in regulating our mental health. Plus, physical activity promotes better physical health, which helps us to feel better overall.
- Reduce the time spent on social media to less than a couple of hours a day at the most. One of the biggest influences on teens right now is social media. Studies show that social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok, and Twitter lead to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and low body image. Therefore, the less exposure to these, the better. Again, be sure to follow your own rules, too.
Teen Mental Health in Purchase, New York
For outstanding mental health and physical health services for your teen or young adult, put your trust in the compassionate and professional board-certified pediatricians at BridgeSpan Medicine. Our adolescent medicine specialists focus on teen mental health counseling, and we have years of experience treating adolescents with ADHD, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers, call our clinic today at (914) 698-5544 or fill out our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to helping your teen have better mental health and a healthy outlook on life.