common mental health issues for teens


Teens and Anxiety

Teens will say they have stomach aches, headaches, sleep problems, and don’t feel like going to school due to feeling anxious.  Teens may experience panic attacks where they have trouble breathing, their hearts race, and they start crying.  Teens may feel like they are alone with these experiences.  Parents may feel helpless in calming their teens down.

Teens and Depression

Teens with symptoms of depression have similar experiences as teens with anxiety.  Teens may sleep too little or too much.  They may have abrupt changes in appetite or activity level.  Teens say they just don’t feel as excited about things that gave them joy in the past.  Teens will also isolate from friends if they feel down.  Some teens have thoughts of hurting themselves or secretly engage in harming themselves.  As with anxiety, teens may blame themselves for these unpleasant feelings and thoughts.

Academic disengagement

Teens may experience academic disengagement such as receiving failing grades, missing school or skipping school, turning in homework and projects late or not at all, and bombing tests.  Parents may be beside themselves in how to motivate their teens to do better in school.  Teens may struggle with learning disorders or ADHD which contributes to their negative view of school.  Teens may believe they are “too dumb” to do well in school.  Parents know their teens are not living up to their potential.

Peer relationships

Teens may have tumultuous relationships with peers.  They may be best friends with someone one day and then vow to never speak with that person again the next day.  They may feel cyberbullied on social media or kicked out of their friend group.  They may be friends with peers that engage in drug and alcohol abuse.  They may find themselves in toxic intimate relationships.  Parents feel overwhelmed with navigating social media and when or if to step in when it comes to their teen’s relationships with peers and intimate partners.