Breaking the Silence: Talking About Mental Health Care for Teens

sad teenager

Adolescence is a time of rapid physical and psychological development, but it can also be a period of immense stress. With the onset of puberty comes an increased risk of developing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Unfortunately, many teens are often reluctant to talk about their struggles with mental health due to fear of stigma or shame. This reluctance can lead to further isolation and impede access to appropriate care that could help them cope with these issues.  It is essential therefore that we break the silence around teenage mental health in order to support young people during this critical stage in life.

1. Educate: 

Parents, educators, and healthcare providers should be equipped with the information they need to recognize signs of mental health issues in teens and help them seek treatment. This may include understanding how depression or anxiety manifests itself differently in adolescents than adults and being aware of common triggers such as peer pressure or bullying. Also, it is important to be aware of the differences in mental health care options available for teens and adults, such as specialized services like adolescent psychiatry or residential treatment programs. This knowledge can help teens and their families make informed decisions about care. 

2. Reduce Stigma: 

It is essential to reduce the stigma associated with teen mental health so that young people are more likely to feel comfortable seeking help if needed. This starts with creating a safe space for teens to talk openly about their mental health without fear of judgment or ridicule. It also means promoting accurate information about mental illness in order to combat misperceptions and dispel myths and stereotypes. Finally, it means actively validating teenage emotions as real and worthy of attention, rather than delegitimizing them as “just a phase” or something they should be able to “snap out of” on their own. 

3. Encourage them to get professional help: 

If a teen is struggling with mental health issues, it is important to encourage them to seek professional help. According to the pros behind Newport Academy, this helps ensure that they receive an accurate diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment. It also provides a space where teens can talk openly about their struggles without fear of judgment or rejection. Mental health care options include individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and alternative treatments such as mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy (MBCBT). Rehabilitation programs are also available such as outpatient and residential rehab program. A combination of these approaches may be necessary in order for a person to achieve their recovery goals. 

A picture of a medical student holding their books and walking to class with their backpack on

4. Involve Teens: 

When discussing their mental health issues, it is essential that young people feel they are being heard and understood. This means involving them in decisions about their care and creating an open dialogue between caregivers, healthcare providers, and teens. If a teen does not feel comfortable talking with an adult about their mental health issues, it may be beneficial to consider engaging other supports such as peers or support groups. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that mental health issues can be affected by other factors such as gender identity/expression, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status–all of which should be taken into consideration when discussing teenage mental health care. 

5. Support: 

Breaking the silence around teenage mental health requires creating safe spaces both within our homes and larger communities where teens feel supported and valued. This may include providing access to resources, offering support and understanding, listening without judgment, or just simply being there for a young person when they need someone. It is also essential to remember that mental health issues can be temporary or long-term and that recovery does not always follow the same timeline for everyone. Ultimately, supporting teens in their journey to mental wellness means offering compassion and understanding, and allowing them to take the lead in their recovery. 

6. Promote Self-Care: 

Self-care is an important part of promoting mental health in teens. Encouraging teens to engage in activities that bring them joy and help them relax can be beneficial for their overall wellness. This might include things like spending time outdoors, going for a walk, or engaging in creative pursuits such as music or art. Additionally, teaching teens healthy coping skills and encouraging lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise can also be beneficial. In short, self-care is an essential component of mental wellness that should not be overlooked when discussing teenage mental health.  By understanding the complexities of teenage mental health, we can empower young people to develop positive behaviors and habits that will serve them well into adulthood.


It is essential that we take teenage mental health seriously and provide teens with the support they need to thrive. We must create safe spaces for open dialogue, involve them in decisions about their care, promote self-care activities, and encourage professional help when needed. By understanding the complexities of teenage mental health, we can empower young people to develop positive behaviors and habits that will serve them well into adulthood. Through our collective efforts – whether it’s providing resources or simply listening without judgment – we can ensure all teenagers receive the love and respect they deserve as they navigate this complicated period in life.