Mental Health in Teens: Recognizing The Warning Signs

Mental Health in Teens

The teenage years are hallmarked by newfound independence and important life changes. While these years are exciting, they can also be full of turmoil. One of the key preventative factors for teenage drug abuse and mental illness is recognizing the warning signs and seeking help when they start to arise. Listed below are things to look for when it comes to your teenager that may present themselves as warning signs. 

Mental Illness & Drug Abuse Warning Signs

There are many different types of signs that you may witness, as well as not witness, when it comes to your teenager. While not all of these are necessarily indicative of mental illness or drug abuse, they do warrant a conversation with your teenager. One of the most helpful things you can do for your teenager is to always keep the conversation open. Provide them with a safe space to come and talk to you when needed. 

Drastic Changes in Behavior

Your teenager is normally pleasant, outgoing, and rarely has an outburst. Now, your teenager is struggling with mood regulation and becomes angry easily. This may present itself as defiance, but could also involve anger management problems. For instance, your teenager may get angry over you changing the television channel and throw their cup across the room. They may get violent or break things that they or others care about. 

Your teenager can also display other changes in behavior, such as reclusion. They may not talk much to you, leave the house frequently, are not engaging in their previous hobbies. You may notice that they are in their room more than they used to be. This can also be a sign that your teenager may be struggling. 

Changing Friend Groups

Teenagers often make new friends, especially when they enter high school. It is not uncommon for a teenager to leave their old friend group behind and have a new one or hop around from friend group to friend group. However, it can become clear that your teenager may not be friends with a good group of kids. This may present itself as a clear sign that something else is up. Your teenager may not bring these friends around to meet you or will talk badly about their friends. You may notice that your teenager is more secretive about this new friend group, which could be a sign. 

Trouble with School

High school is sometimes a drastic change for many students. It can cause students to have difficulty concentrating and even cause grades to slip. However, if you notice your teenager is missing school, getting detentions, and is failing multiple classes then their may be something else going on. Often, teenagers will be struggling with other issues that cause them to act out at school, choose to skip their classes, or not put in the effort towards their work. You may have noticed that your teenager does not seem to care about school or has even mentioned quitting altogether, which could be a sign that something is wrong. 

Be Open & Honest with Your Teenager

Provide your teenager with a safe space to come and talk to you. Do not get discouraged if they choose not to talk to you at first. Keep the conversation open-ended and continue it, so that they know you are serious about communicating with them. Talk to your teenager about your concerns and be honest about why you are concerned. You will want to lead them towards a path of healing and recovery, which will require professional help. 

Mental Health for Teens

If you have observed any signs from your teenager, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Getting the proper mental health help for teens that are requires the help of a trained professional. The Becoming Counseling can help you and your teen get back on the right track. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help.


Wes Cain, LPCA, NCC, IHC



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