Mental Health Issues & Reacting to Change in Adolescence
Uncertainty during life’s journey is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. While we can exert some control over the twists and turns, there are plenty of outside forces capable of throwing us off track.
Unexpected personal or worldwide events, mental health, and physical wellness can all affect change in our lives, and regardless of whether or not that change is initially positive or negative, the threat of change can be enough to cause a crisis.
Some of us are able to navigate uncertainty and even thrive. For the rest of us, our reactions can include despair, denial, and worry.
Adolescents who are dealing with depression and anxiety along with mental and physical growing pains face challenges that may require specialized care.
Review our list of the best ways you and your teenager can approach mental health changes in adolescence before the upcoming school year. For additional resources on helping your teen cope, reach out to a licensed professional like Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M.
Common Mental Health Issues Developed During Adolescence
Many of the mental health concerns teens face are familiar to us. Problems in relationships or feelings of stress have most likely appeared in our own lives. Some of the most common reasons for children and teenagers to seek therapy include:
- Neurodiverse conditions like ADHD and autism
- Divorce and other causes of familial stress
- Depression and anxiety
- Eating disorders
- School performance
- Relationships with peers
- LGBTQIA+ matters
Remember: adolescence is an important transitionary period. Habits developed during this period remain long after their teen years and far into adulthood. Recognizing the signs of poor coping skills or common mental health and relationship issues in adolescence early on can help your child avoid any unwanted behaviors from developing.
Then Versus Now
For students gearing up for their first year or preparing to return to high school in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools district, “back-to-school” plans are uncertain as ever as the school board strives to create a safe and supportive learning environment. Whether or not teenagers attend class in person, online, or in a hybrid format depends widely on Florida’s quarantine status. Even the start date for the school year continues to be debated as Miami deals with the COVID-19 crisis. Even after this crisis passes, how students contend with being at school will be impacted.
Growing up with mental health issues during adolescence makes the awkward or embarrassing moments even more devastating. A strong support system like close friends or a reliable routine helps teenagers navigate uncertainty. Unfortunately, a national crisis can weaken or completely remove these support systems. Change is hard, but change that takes away adolescent support systems makes that change even harder to cope with.
The disappointment that summer traditions are going ignored is hard enough, but to lose part of the school year to quarantine can increase negative feelings in teenagers. Isolation has played a major role in the increased need for mental health help for teenagers during quarantine, and such feelings of loneliness can be detrimental during development. Instead of seeing their friends and emotionally connecting with others, teens are currently restricted to standing six feet apart or interacting through a screen.
Your Role in Times of Uncertainty
Isolation may not be an issue for your teenager living at home, but family tension is just as counterproductive when it comes to mental health issues occurring during adolescence. The vulnerability that comes with drastic mind and body development can cause teenagers to appear moody or difficult. Gaining worldly experience and exerting newfound freedoms are key points to growing up, and it’s not uncommon for teenagers to develop the sense that they know better than or that they no longer need help from their guardian.
That age is difficult enough when there isn’t a national crisis to deal with. Lashing out in anger could be a sign of something else going on. In moments like this, persistent helicopter parenting may have an adverse effect and create more conflict in the chaos. As their guardian, your instinct might be to get involved or make suggestions, but not all mental health issues occurring during adolescence are so easily solved. Newer generations have issues you may not have come across during your youth, and not every teen is receptive to advice as they make their own path to young adulthood.
Learning how to set boundaries is important in any relationship, especially between child and guardian. We can’t lead a horse to water and expect them to drink, and we can’t force a child to communicate with us or take our advice. An open-door policy could be key to supporting your child’s mental health issues during adolescence. Letting your child know that you’re available to help guide them through mental health changes that occur during their confusing time as a teenager can reassure them that they’re not alone and remind them that they always have you to fall back on. However, if your child is showing dire signs as a result of life changes, taking direct action should be your first step. Consulting a trained professional for a child in crisis could be life-saving. As a guardian, your role first and foremost should be looking out for their welfare. Part of setting boundaries is recognizing when you need to take the initiative.
Mental Health Help for Teenagers
We all want to help our loved ones and ensure their happiness, but sometimes that requires a hands-off strategy. If you’re concerned about the mental health changes in your teenager, Miami Hypnosis and Therapy offers a balanced therapeutic approach for adolescents. Our head practitioner, Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M., uses a blend of hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, social therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy to get to the root of her client’s mental health issues in adolescence and adulthood.
Anna Marchenko’s dual Master’s degrees and attendance to an Ivy League university distinguish her from many therapists in the Miami area. Her expertise as a hypnotherapist comes from being board certified by Florida’s Department of Education, granting her the foundation she needs to perform effective support and care for clients.
Whether you’re looking to boost their self-esteem or strengthen your bond through family therapy, Miami Hypnosis and Therapy offers services everyone can benefit from. Reach out today to ask about supporting your child’s mental health issues during the chaos that is adolescence in an ongoing pandemic.