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Teen Mental Health: The Time to Act is Now

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Right now is a lot to process. Parents are asked to be teachers. Work, if available, may take place at home. Privacy doesn’t exist. And the places that once served as outlets for joy and relieving stress are limited. These new times are producing big emotions, many in the form of sadness, worry, anger, and grief. For everyone — including teens.

Emotional and mental well-being

“Today’s teens struggle with mental health now more than ever,’” says Andrea Auxier, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and chief commercial officer for New Directions, a behavioral health company with the mission to improve people’s health with the focus of improving behavioral health. “They’re being affected, even if it’s not immediately apparent.”

Getting help

“It’s important to monitor teens’ emotional well-being,” says Dr. Auxier. “These years are critical to development. It’s when people figure out who they want to be, how to relate to others and learn lessons to apply later in life. When mental health is negatively impacted, it’s harder to develop in a healthy way.”

Dr. Auxier encourages parents to look for warning signs like anger, trouble concentrating or changes in eating or sleeping habits. Whether your teen exhibits these behaviors or not, she says it’s important to talk with them about tough topics and to listen and validate their feelings.

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“Checking in with someone who may be having a hard time is essential,” says Dr. Auxier. “Three-quarters of people who have mental health issues develop them prior to the age of 24. Intervene early and unapologetically, because if left untreated, it can get worse.”

Dr. Auxier also reminds people that mental health isn’t just one thing, but a combination of many things. “Mental health is the core of who you are as a person. It’s how you feel and think. It’s how you see yourself and how you think others see you. It’s also how you experience the world. That’s why getting help — whether in-person or virtually — matters.”

If you have concerns about someone you love or your own mental health, talk with your doctor, insurance provider or see if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program. New Directions Behavioral Health offers services that can help people manage mental health concerns, stress, relationship issues, work/school related performance, etc.

For more information: https://www.ndbh.com/mental-health-month-resources.

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