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Teenage years bring on so much change that it can leave your head spinning. Your body begins to change, you sound/look more like an adult and keeping up with friends can feel like a full-time job. What you may not realize is that while your body matures, so does your brain. You begin developing more life skills, become more independent, spend more time with your friends than your family and start thinking more about your life goals and values — all exciting and challenging parts of growing up.
With all these changes, it’s no wonder you might feel like yelling one second and crying for no reason the next. Along with all the new things happening in your life, new stresses and worries also come up about family, friends, school, your body, your future and your identity.
It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that signs of mental health conditions often emerge during this developmental stage. About half of all people who experience a mental health condition in their lifetime begin experiencing symptoms before the age of 14, but other teens and their family members often do not notice them until several years later. Determining whether certain behavior is normal/typical or a symptom of a mental health condition can be difficult. It can be even harder for young people who live in a low-income household or who are part of communities that experience prejudice, racism, exclusion or marginalization.
The good news is that if you ask for help and support early on, you can find healthy ways to help you get through your teen years and prepare for life as a young adult — even if you have a mental health condition.
A 2021 poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of NAMI finds that an overwhelming number of parents support mental health education in schools and “mental health days” for their children.
If you are experiencing mental health concerns, it’s important not to try to handle it on your own. Learn what to do when you need help with your mental health.
When it comes to sharing information about your mental health, it’s important to decide in advance what you’re most comfortable with. Read our tips on how to open up to your friends.
If you are struggling with your mental health, it’s important to talk with your parent or guardian and let them know you need help. Read our tips on how to start the conversation.
It’s important to recognize when patterns of social media use are unhelpful and understand the potential consequences. Explore our suggestions for protecting your mental health while using social media.
If your mental health is impacting your ability to do your work and activities at school, it’s important to talk to someone about it so you can gain the mental health support you need in school. Learn where to start that conversation.
A presentation for middle and high school students, school staff and parents or guardians.
A presentation by people with mental health conditions to promote awareness and recovery.
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