Mental Health and Teenagers


Mackenzie Wingrove, Writer

The National Institute of Mental Health states that “between the ages of 13 and 18, 49.5%  of teens will struggle with mental illness.” Mental health affects teens behavior, mood, emotions, as well as their thoughts. Signs and symptoms include; unhappiness, socially withdrawn, sudden mood changes, unusual behavior, change in eating and sleeping habits, and extreme fear or worry. Teens are often invalidated in their struggle with mental illness with words like, “You’re a kid, you don’t know what stress is” ,” Everyone has problems”, “ “You’ll get over it”, or “It’s just a phase.” Words like these discourage teens and make them feel like their struggles aren’t important or worthy of help, which is false. Mental illness affects everyday life, and if not treated properly, it can become a permanent condition. Helping someone with mental illness is not an easy task. It takes time and effort to help someone, especially when they refuse the help, but you shouldn’t give up. You need to listen and make sure they feel heard about their problems. Don’t try to fix them because they are not broken, they are struggling. Ask them what they want and what they think they want or need.  Let them know they are not alone and that they’ll get through their situation. Medication shouldn’t always be the answer, but in some cases it is necessary. Figure out the diagnosis first before referring to medicine.