The adolescent years can make even the most confident teen feel "out of control" at times, moody and insecure about their friendships, future, or appearance. While the teen years are full of big changes and responsibilities, some teenagers experience chronic, difficult-to-control emotions, such as anxiety, anger or sadness. They may have trouble sleeping, paying attention, and even experience physical symptoms like stomachaches and headaches. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many teens are experiencing isolation, low motivation and symptoms of depression.
Counselling can help adolescents learn new ways to deal with stress, overcome anxiety and develop healthy skills to cope with their feelings.
Good mental health is more just the absence of mental health problems. It helps teenagers stay resilient, stay balanced, enjoy life and cope with everyday stress, and get along better with others.
Anxiety can become a problem for young people when it interferes with their ability to function in their day to day life. For example, teens who are so worried about failing a test that they start avoiding school. Another sign that anxiety is becoming a problem is when excessive worrying impacts your ability to focus, concentrate, sleep. Many teens experiencing anxiety also seem irritable often and experience physical ailments, headaches and stomachaches.
It is normal for adolescents to feel sad, insecure and lonely from time to time. However, depression is different from normal sadness as it can feel overwhelming and lasts for longer than a week or two. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are widespread among depressed individuals, preventing teens from participating in their daily activities. Teenagers experiencing depression are likely to lack motivation, are tearful, and feel disconnected from the world around them.
It is not uncommon for teenagers to have difficulties in their relationships because this is a time of rapid physical, mental, and many other changes. While it’s normal for relationships to change over time, too many teens don't know the signs of unhealthy relationships. These relationships involve a power imbalance, such as bullying, harassment, dating violence, abuse, or toxic friendships. As such, the teenage years provide a 'developmental window' of opportunity for teens to develop positive and supportive relationships
A poor self-image is often the result of a young person receiving harsh and continued criticism by an adult or adults in their life. Because young people don't know otherwise, they come to believe this negative messaging, and it can often be the underlying cause of many difficulties. For example, when teens have a low self-image, they also lack self-esteem and tend to avoid situations where they think there’s risk of failure, embarrassment or making mistakes. .
While grieving is a natural process that takes time, it can be especially challenging for teens. Whether the loss is a grandparent, a parent, a classmate or even a beloved family pet, grief and loss experienced during the teenage years can have lifelong impacts. However, when symptoms persist beyond six months and are very impairing can indicate that a teenager may need professional help to overcome their grief.
Experimentation and risk-taking are a natural part of adolescent development. Thus, it is not uncommon for teens to try alcohol or other substances to see how it feels or as a way of pushing boundaries. It doesn’t mean they have a substance use problem. It is still important to talk with them about their substance use as it always carries some risk. Substance use becomes misuse when it negatively interferes with a young person's ability to function, such as poor academic performance, moodiness, etc.