The first week in October kicks off Mental Health Awareness Week, and while adults have many resources to help sort through their feelings and emotional health, teenagers may not know how to communicate or have the language to identify what they are experiencing, which makes mental health awareness even more crucial for this age group.
At Rebounderz of Sunrise, we want to create an atmosphere of fun and wellness — and we all know how advantageous jumping in our trampoline park is for our mental wellbeing! Physical activity naturally boosts endorphin and serotonin levels to help combat the blues. To learn more about mental health in teens, examine the topic with us below!
Tackling Mental Health With Your Teen
Having a teenager is complicated enough — their hormones are changing — so these constant fluctuations make them more moody than that of the previous decade. So, how do you determine when their mental health is being impacted, or if it is just their hormones?
A day-in-the-life of a teenager can come with a host of short-tempers as they’re trying to cope with gaining independence, yet still being a child under your care, oh and there is also the drama. Teenagers are beginning to separate themselves from the family and explore relationships outside of it. As they experience all of the phases of broken hearts, embarrassment, and failure — unseemingly small events to you could feel like their world is coming crashing down. In all of this, they are trying to make sense of the world around them, while dealing with their hormones, and putting words to their feelings. Sound exhausting? Just recall your own teenage years.
So, where do you separate a normal teenage experience from teenage mental health issues?
As a parent or caregiver, you know your child the best so if you notice their emotional state becoming one that is laden with chronic anxiety or depression lasting more than a few days, you may want to consider getting in touch with a mental health professional. Additional factors to consider include:
- Decreased enjoyment with family and friends
- An “out of nowhere” decline in their academic performance
- Missing school or showing resistance to attending
- Dramatic changes in their eating, sleeping, and energy levels
- Frequent and lasting mood swings, crying often and extreme aggression
- Substance abuse
- A decline in personal hygiene
- Overly suspicious of others
- Seeing and hearing things others do not
If you notice any of these signs, talk with your teen! They have big feelings and sometimes they just need to be validated, and if you do think they have a mental health issue, approach it calmly and with empathy. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and let them know you are on their team. Other talking points include:
- Bringing up the issue in a calm manner
- Make sure you are talking and then listening
- Do not interrupt your child
- Steer clear of threats, yelling, whining, and sarcasm
- Deal with the present and avoid commenting on the past
- If things do become heated, pause for a break, and continue when both parties are calm
Teen Mental Health in Numbers
Struggling with mental health issues occurs in teens and can be difficult for them to deal with because they may not even know what depression or anxiety are — they just feel it. Below are surprising facts and statistics about mental health in teens.
- One in five children ages 13 through 18, have or will experience a severe mental illness.
- Of all teens ages 13 through 18 years in age, 20 percent will live with a mental health condition.
- 50 percent of lifetime cases of mental illness are diagnosed by 14 and 75 percent by the age of 24.
- 37 percent of teens 14 and older, drop out of high school.
- 70 percent of teens in the juvenile justice system have a mental illness.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death in ages 10 through 24.
- 90 percent of those cases of youth who died had a mental issue
How Parents and Caregivers Can Help Prevent Teen Mental Health Issues
As noted above, there is a high rate of teen depression that goes beyond the normal teenage experience. As a parent, you may not know how to navigate this topic or feel helpless in the whole matter, but there are things you can do to help your teen cope with these big emotions.
Let your teen know you are there, supporting and caring for them.
Although your teen may not acknowledge it, they want you around. Continue to ask open-ended questions and support their growing autonomy.
Teach and model healthy communication skills.
Communication is not an inert skill, it is one you have to continually learn from and develop. Help cultivate strong communication early in life by working through issues together.
Encourage healthy peer relationships.
Teens need the support of a family, but unhealthy or absent relationships with their peers may increase depression. When teens have a strong social connection, this is more protective against them developing mental health issues.
Encourage your teen to find something they love.
When teens have a purpose or something to excel in, this gives meaning to their lives and can help prevent mental health issues.
Help them get active!
Physical activity is a great way to get blood and oxygen to the brain while boosting neural signals that ward off mental health issues! Get a group of their friends together and get active while having fun at Rebounderz.
For more information on our hours or special events, call our office today!