Being a teenager is not easy. Teens feel all kinds of pressures — to do well in school, to be popular with peers, to gain the approval of parents, to make the team, to be cool. In addition, many teenagers have other problems. For example, they may worry about a parent being out of work or the family’s financial problems. Adolescents may be hurt or confused by their parents’ divorce, or they may have to learn how to live with a parent’s alcoholism or mental illness. Despite these pressures, it is important to remember that most teenagers develop into healthy adults.
Some teenagers develop serious emotional problems which requiring professional help. Mental health problems are real, painful, and sometimes severe. Depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders are some examples of mental health problems that can be treated.
Warning signs of a mental health problem include:
- Change in behavior
- Change in friends
- Change in school performance
- Change in interest or loss of interest
- Change in others concern
- Change in ability to communicate
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website has a glossary of definitions to help parents, teachers, and others learn more about the major mental illnesses, symptoms, and mental health issues which affect teenagers.
Mental health problems are treatable and some can be prevented. In every case, the sooner a teenager gets help, the better.
For some names and phone numbers of mental health providers see our resource page.