What can cause teenage mental health issues and how can you support your child that seems to be emotionally struggling?
Since 2020 teen depression and anxiety has doubled, many experts blame the increase of screen-time as part of the cause.
Is your teen experiencing:
–Depression, sadness, anxiety
-Withdrawn, avoiding family events
-Cell-phone addiction, video gaming
–Angry, defiant, explosive
-Vaping, smoking pot, drinking (self-medicating)
-Skipping classes, school refusal
–Failing, when capable of passing
-Changing peer groups, or isolating themselves
-Change in eating and sleeping patterns
The truth is depression, anxiety and other teenage mental health disorders were serious concerns long before 2019. The pandemic only lifted the covers off the mental health crisis our teens are facing.
3 Common Causes of Teenage Mental Health Issues
1. Technology (screen-time).
There’s no doubt that there are many positive aspects to being connected online to friends and family, as well as using your device as an educational tool — however extensive use of social media or video gaming also carries risks.
Experts say risks increase when adolescents obsess about gaining “likes” on their posts and make comparisons between their own physical appearance or life circumstances and that of others. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is also a very real emotional concern of teens today. Young people continue to seek approval and gratification through social apps from digital strangers — to boost their confidence.
This can lead to anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.
It’s imperative that young people learn about a healthy relationship with technology and find a balance with the time they spend online. If you haven’t implemented a technology agreement yet, it’s time to do so.
2. Bullying and Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying has increased 40% since 2020 among teens. New research says nearly half of teens are online almost constantly.
Never underestimate the power of words that can emotionally wound a child, especially a teenager that may already be struggling with self-worth. Bullying can cause feelings of rejection, exclusion, isolation, low self-esteem, and some individuals can develop depression and anxiety as a result. In some cases it can even develop into Acute Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
With cyberbullying it can be more cruel and hateful since it spreads not only throughout the school, but your community and globally. It’s literally worldwide humiliation. With the anonymity of social media, it’s made it easier for peers to engage in malicious pranks and even sexting scandals in both middle schools and high schools that have crisscrossed our nation.
Studies have found adolescents who experience cyberbullying are about twice as likely to engage in self-harm, including attempted suicide, as those who do not experience such bullying.
Learn more about how to give your teen the tools to prevent cyberbullying.
3. Substance abuse.
Today it starts with vaping then graduates to smoking marijuana — which your teen will justify to you since it’s now legal in some states (we are not condoning this). Reality is, most kids will experiment with drugs and alcohol — however when it goes past that line of experimentation, when parents need to be concerned.
Drug dealers have turned to the internet and social media apps like TikTok, Instagram and Snap Chat to find new customers: teenagers. This is causing youth drug deaths to soar.
Substance-abusing youth are at higher risk than nonusers for mental health problems, including depression, conduct problems, personality disorders, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, and suicide.
If your family has a history of alcoholism or substance abuse, your teen is at higher risk for addiction.