Teenage years are a time of transition heightened by social media, peer pressure, relationships and family issues. With so many changes occurring in teenagers’ lives, it’s essential that mental wellness remains at the forefront to help combat mental health issues.
What is Mental Wellness?
Mental wellness is the ability to deal with the ups and downs of daily life while having coping strategies to support in times of stress. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, spending time with others and regular tech breaks all contribute to mental wellness.
What can I do to help?
Over the 10 years I have worked with young people, there are three things that I have found to be essential for ensuring a teen’s mental wellness:
In many instances, teens know that they need help, but when they reach out to adults in their circle, sometimes they are disregarded or their problems are minimized. Even though an issue might not seem monumental to you, it’s important to the teen. Listening patiently and knowing it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers are good first steps.
Reach out for support
We are not meant to do life alone. There are plenty of supports available for teens and people who care about them. Look for a Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in your area or make use of resources like Kids Help Phone or mindyourmind.
Be a role model
Although you may question how much of a role you should play as your teens age—you are still crucial in guiding their behaviour. Should concerns arise, approach your teen in a non-judgmental manner and don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional ahead of time for tips on how to handle your particular situation.
With your support, listening and positive role modelling, you can help ensure the mental wellness of the teens around you.
Lisa Wood is a mental health professional and the Program Coordinator for Choices, a youth mental health initiative of the Canadian Mental Health Association, York and South Simcoe branch. She is on a critical mission to let parents know that they are not alone when facing the daily struggles, challenges, and joys of raising children.