(AscendHealthy)- Half of all children and teens residing in the United States with a mental health condition go untreated. It’s important to know how to identify the signs of mental illness in teenagers to help acknowledge and get them diagnosed before the symptoms get out of hand.
Understanding the Signs of Mental Illness
Adolescence is often a time of change for many young people. This includes changes they’ll go through in socially, such as graduating high school, physically as their bodies mature, and emotionally as they find their place in life. There are certain red flags that parents and other caregivers can watch for if they are concerned about their teenager’s mental health.
Some of the most common signs that your teen’s mental health may need attention include sleeping more than usual, a loss of self-esteem, and abandoning activities they once enjoyed. Other potential signs may be weight loss or gain due to changes in eating habits, a noticeable drop in grades, and personality changes. An estimated 50% of all mental health issues start by age 14, so it’s important to pay attention to the warning signs early on if you suspect there is a problem.
Mental Health Issues Commonly Found in Teens
There is no specific cause that always leads to a mental health issue. Different circumstances can set off individuals depending on what they are going through. For example, a teenager who has parents that are getting divorced might feel depressed. Another individual who is overweight and teased daily could be suffering from an eating disorder.
Some of the main causes of potential mental health problems in adolescents can include depression, drug abuse, and eating disorders. It’s important to examine these issues and determine what led them there in the first place. This is often the best way of fully addressing the problem before it gets out of hand and/or becomes a coping mechanism.
Seeking Treatment for a Teenager
Getting help for teenagers dealing with mental illness is important. Many families face barriers along the way in the form of money, insurance, and even stigma from the community. Despite these factors, there are ways to find treatment for your teenager.
Some of the options include seeking help from the school or college psychologists or counselors, who may be able to help students find reduced-cost or free treatment in the area. Another option is to find out about sliding-scale services within the community. This allows families to pay what they can for service while ensuring their teenager gets the help they need. Lastly, it can be helpful to call around and find out if free services are available in your area. Some might be based on a financial need or situation, or might not be widely advertised. But if insurance doesn’t cover these needs, finding an alternative form of assistance can make a difference.
In the case of a true emergency, it’s important to visit a hospital-based crisis center or emergency room. If you suspect that your child wants to harm themselves or others, hospitalization may be necessary.
Dealing with mental illness in a teenager might seem overwhelming at first. Knowing the warning signs and how to get help can make a positive difference in your teenager’s life and prevent them from becoming part of the statistic that goes untreated.
~ Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
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