When issues with your teenager’s mental health are left untreated, it will disrupt your child’s ability to function at school and in life. Because we expect them to be in a typical teenage phase, we may overlook many warning signs of mental health issues. In growing up, hormonal changes may cause mood swings, outbursts, and disruptive or oppositional behaviour. However, these symptoms become concerning when it’s recurring, long-lasting, or upset your teenager’s ability to function.
Some parents are concerned about the stigma of mental health problems and feel embarrassed about their child being “labelled” with a condition requiring treatment. The uncertainty of what lies ahead may also make them reluctant to get help when their teenager needs mental healthcare, be it therapy, medication or both.
The WHO also warns that the effects of untreated mental health conditions in adolescents will extend to adulthood. It will impair their physical and mental health and limit their opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.
That is why it’s crucial to closely monitor your teenager’s mental health and seek professional help as soon as you recognise any warning signs.
The Warning Signs of Mental Health problems in Teenagers
- Poor personal hygiene
- Extreme mood swings
- Being angry or irritated more often
- Changes in eating patterns
- Declining school performance and missing classes
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Sleeping problems
- Withdrawal from friends and family and spending a lot of time alone
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Persistent sadness
- Frequent crying
- Self-medicating with substances like drugs or alcohol
- Physical signs of self-harming
Getting Help For Your Teenager’s Mental Health
Remember that you are not alone, and the good news is that mental health conditions are treatable. However, reach out to a as soon as possible. Early treatment will prevent problems from becoming severe and will also lessen their effect on your child’s development. Private mental health facilities are available for adolescents at Tijger Clinic in Loevenstein and Helderberg Clinic in Strand. If you would like to speak to a professional about any symptoms, WhatsApp or phone the 24/7 Helpline number at 072 7900 506.