How To Support Your Child’s Mental Health During Adolescence

Child’s Mental Health

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

The mental health of adolescents is an incredibly important topic. Some sources suggest that up to 20% of adolescents experience a mental health condition during this period of their life. That means one in five adolescents are struggling, whether or not that is visible to everyone else. 

However, society doesn’t always give adolescents the break and support they need. The emotional, mental, and behavioral issues that adolescents experience are often dismissed as “teens being teens.” However, these conditions can be quite serious and, if not treated, may affect them well into adulthood. 

This article will give you a brief introduction to what adolescents experience as well as the mental health conditions they commonly struggle with. You will also learn how to support your child during this time, so they are not dealing with the condition alone. 

What Is Adolescence?

Adolescence is the period where a child develops into an adult. There are significant changes that occur during this time. Adolescents experience puberty, growing pains, immense growth, as well as significant increases in cognitive functioning. 

However, in addition to going through these incredible changes, adolescents face immense pressure from society. They must establish healthy social circles, do well in school, figure out what careers they are interested in, and prepare for their future. This is all expected of them before they officially reach adulthood!

As you can imagine, all this change and pressure in such a short amount of time can take a toll on both the physical and mental health of adolescents. Therefore, they need guidance and support, not the criticism and lectures they often receive. For more general advice on how to support your child during adolescence, click on the link below:

Now let’s move on to some common mental health challenges that adolescents experience. 

What Are Some Common Mental Health Challenges During This Period?

The constantly evolving brain and body take their toll on adolescents. This is why they often experience great pains or difficulties navigating this phase of life. Furthermore, the immense pressure that society puts on them to be perfect and figure out their lives before they turn 18 can create a great deal of stress. The stress and worry can manifest into a myriad of mental health conditions. Some of the most common mental health conditions that adolescents experience are listed below. 


Depression is a persistent, intense feeling of sadness, despair, or gloom. However, it is more than just an occasional experience of these emotions. Depression can last from weeks to months or years. 

See also  What Are the Common Causes of Neurobehavioral Disorders?

This condition can lead to low self-esteem and isolation. Adolescents with depression may struggle in school and may not develop many friendships. This condition can come about from school and societal pressures and issues or life-changing events. However, depending on the adolescent, there may or may not be a clear cause. 

Common symptoms of depression include: 

  • Strong feelings of sadness, despair, or hopelessness
  • Increased irritability and anger
  • Apathy
  • Issues with sleep
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Appetite changes
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or movements
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm

**If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.**


Due to societal pressures, chronic stress at school, and shifting social dynamics, adolescents are well familiar with the feelings of anxiety. Anxiety can take the form of multiple disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Depending on the type of anxiety, the feelings of anxiety can be consistent or triggered by specific situations, events, or places. 

Some common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Restlessness
  • Consistent worried or anxious thoughts
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sense of danger or impending doom
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating

Eating Disorders

Social media, celebrity culture, and fashion trends create unrealistic beauty standards that are nearly impossible to attain. However, many adolescents fail to realize this and may resort to unsafe or unhealthy behaviors and eating habits to make their bodies “perfect.” This can turn into the development of eating disorders, which can be quite fatal. 

Eating disorders are characterized by persistent irregular eating habits combined with distressing thoughts or feelings. Adolescents who develop eating disorders have a warped self-image and may have very low self-esteem. They often believe that their body is not good or beautiful enough, so they feel they must take extreme measures to be beautiful. 

There are many types of eating disorders, and they all have varying symptoms. If you see any changes in your child’s eating habits that concern you, discuss the issue with a medical professional or psychologist. 

Conduct Disorder

Though adolescents are known to act out or fight rules and established structures, if this behavior is consistent, then it may be a sign of conduct disorder. 

Conduct disorder is a behavioral disorder characterized by antisocial behavior and delinquency. Adolescents with conduct disorder show no respect for the boundaries, rules, and laws in place and often meet them with disregard, erratic behavior, or violence. 

See also  4 Medical Equipment That Every Healthcare Facility Must Have

The most concerning symptoms of conduct disorder include: 

  • Frequently skipping school
  • Lawbreaking
  • Ignoring house rules or curfews
  • Property damage
  • Harming or abusing animals or people
  • Bullying
  • Lying
  • Theft
  • Harassment
  • Running away

How Can You Support Your Child’s Mental Health?

Any person of any age struggles significantly more with their mental health when they don’t have support. Therefore, if you see your child struggling, it is important to do what you can to help and support them. Below are a few tips you can use to help them during this phase. 

  • Frequently communicate your love and support: Adolescents who feel loved and worthy are less likely to live with mental health conditions or experience issues with low self-esteem. 
  • Praise achievements: Don’t let your child’s achievements go unnoticed. If they get an A on an assignment, tell them what great work they did. If their team won a match, praise their performance. The key to good praise is to focus on the specific trait or skill involved to encourage them to keep improving that skill set. 
  • Listen to them: Many parents may dismiss what is going on in their child’s life or feel they are too busy to care about their matters. But ignoring your child sends them the message that they are unloved or not worthy of your time, which can contribute to a host of mental health disorders. Therefore, listen to their concerns and what they are experiencing in their day-to-day life. You may be able to give them guidance that helps them with their daily challenges. 
  • Talk about each other’s emotions: Discussing each other’s emotions encourages your child to express their feelings healthily. They learn the importance of processing their thoughts instead of letting their emotions boil up. Furthermore, this helps them deal with conflict quickly and efficiently instead of letting built-up emotions pressure them to take action that can worsen the conflict. 
  • Discuss any concerns with a medical professional and the child’s school: If your child is experiencing any mental health concerns, discuss them with a professional. This will provide them with support and resources so they can learn to manage the condition at an early age. Furthermore, make sure their teachers are aware of the condition as well as family members. 
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle: Adolescents who learn to eat right, maintain an exercise routine, and sleep well are less likely to experience consistent struggles with their mental health. Therefore, make sure your child maintains a healthy lifestyle to support both their body and brain. 

Bottom Line

Adolescence can be a fun but trying time. Many children of this age navigate this phase in complete confusion and stress. However, by educating yourself and showing your love and support, you can help maintain the good mental health of your child so that they can succeed in every area of their life. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here