Parents of teenagers have their work cut out for them. Understanding a teen can be tough, especially in an era when so much of their personal and social lives lie hidden in private internet communications and social media profiles. Making matters even more difficult, modern parents of teenagers need to be cognizant of the fact that our nation is in the midst of a teenage mental health crisis.
As experts gain a better understanding of issues like depression and anxiety, they are finding that an alarming number of teenagers are suffering from these ailments. Substance abuse is a huge problem, too, and it connects the teenage mental health crisis to the ongoing opioid crisis. All of this makes it more important than ever for parents to be vigilant about their teenager’s mental health.
Checking in on Your Teen
Communicating with a teenager is rarely easy. Still, parents should work overtime to try to keep lines of communication as open as possible. Even if your teen doesn’t always respond to your overtures, you’ll be doing important work by making yourself available should your teen decide that they need to talk at some point in the future.
Still, it’s important to remember that your teen won’t tell you about everything that’s going on in their life—and that the things that you won’t be told could possibly include mental health issues. That’s why parents should make sure to examine their teen’s behavior, too. This isn’t about snooping, of course; it’s about paying attention to your teen’s attitudes and behaviors. Parents should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. If you see a sudden shift in behavior in your teen, or if you believe that long-standing behaviors match the symptoms of one or more of these afflictions, you should take action. It’s vital for parents to be proactive. Time is of the essence with mental health issues, even when it doesn’t feel that way.
Fighting Teenage Mental Illness
So what does “taking action” mean in this context? To a large extent, it just means treating mental afflictions as you would treat physical ones. If your teenager broke an arm or came down with a nasty illness, you would take them to the hospital or to the doctor. By that same logic, you should take your teen to a mental health professional if you believe that they are suffering from a mental health issue.
Addressing teenage mental health issues can mean different things depending on the situation. A mental health professional could help your child through a rough patch or through grief, which is (in contrast to depression) a fairly temporary thing. Talk therapy can be used to address everything from everyday issues to serious depression. Medications and over-the-counter supplements may figure into a treatment plan, and so might inpatient treatments, explain the experts at the Polaris Youth Residential Treatment Center.
Over-the-counter supplements that can help teens through mental health issues include CBD, which is taking the health world by storm. Experts believe that CBD may help alleviate anxiety. CBD is derived from cannabis, but it won’t get its users high the way that marijuana does. And CBD is easy to acquire and to ingest in the form of CBD topicals, CBD tinctures, CBD vape oils, and more.
Addressing teenage mental health issues isn’t easy, but parents must take potential problems seriously. If you believe that your teen is suffering, then turn to a mental health professional to start developing a treatment plan that is tailored to your child’s needs. It’s one of the most important things that you can do as a parent.