Mental Health Options for Troubled Teens

Teenage mental health is a growing concern, since 2020 studies have revealed that adolescent depression and anxiety has doubled. This is also causing the rise of suicide ideation and self-harm as well as youth self-medicating. 

Since 2001 we have helped educate parents regarding mental health options for troubled teens in addition to therapeutic boarding schools. This is not a decision that is made lightly.

Has your teenager’s behavior been escalating for more than a year? Are they becoming more withdrawn? Depressed or isolated?

More common is the following:

-Defiance (ADHD, ODD)
-Anger, rage
-Cell-phone addiction (self-destructs when the phone is removed)
-School refusal (skipping classes)
-Lacks motivation
-Changing peer groups
-Substance use (self-medicating)
-Self-harm (relieves anxiety)
-Change in eating habits
-Poor hygiene

Your teenager may be suffering with mental health issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible. In many cases it could be typical teen behavior, however when this behavior continues for a length of time without improvement, it is time for parents to intervene.

3 Mental Health Options for Teens

1. Therapy

PexelBoyTherapyOne of the first steps in getting your troubled teen help is finding an adolescent therapist or counselor for them to speak with — as simple as this may sound, is just as difficult as it might be. Teenagers can be stubborn, they may refuse to attend or possibly engage in a conversation with the counselor. Some teens will initially give it a try, but after a short-time will shut down and they therapy becomes non-effective.

It’s important to at least try this as a first step, since talking to an objective person can be extremely beneficial to your teenager. In some cases, going more than once a week in the beginning can be helpful to get them motivated. Your therapist may recommend and IOP (intensive outpatient program) locally, if they believe your teen needs more clinical hours.

To locate a local therapist, contact your insurance provider. Other resources include your local United Way and many churches offer youth counseling services.

2. Teen Coaches

Many adults hire life coaches to help them set goals and keep them motivated, it can be very similar except it’s aimed at the teenage culture and what they are dealing with in today’s generation. This can be especially useful when a teenager has refused therapy — in some cases they do not like the stigma attached to seeing a counselor since they do not believe need help.

A lot of teen life coaches were formerly (or currently) licensed clinical social workers or have degrees and backgrounds in psychology. These people can help your teen navigate their technology and find a healthy balance, handle online cyberbullying, as well as deal with real-life issues such as peers, parents and siblings.

The main objective of teen life coaching is to restore the emotional health and relationships, both with others and/or with themselves. Need to find a teen life coach? A simple online search for “teen life coaches” should direct you to local coaches for your consideration.

3. Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Considering boarding schools for troubled teens is always the last resort — it is not only an emotional decision; it is a major financial decision. How do you know when it is time to send your teen to a therapeutic boarding school? As a parent, you will know when you have exhausted all your local resources and you now fear for your teen’s future. You are unable to keep them safe and healthy as your family is constantly walking on eggshells.

Choosing the right behavioral boarding school for your individual teen takes time and diligence, especially while searching online. For over two decades we have shared with parents research advice, ways to interview schools, questions to ask parent references, common questions parents ask, and how to decipher fact from fiction (and misinformation) online.

Therapeutic boarding schools and programs are not only about the teenager – it is about bringing the entire family back on a healthy path again. The family is broken right now. We are not here to point fingers, we’re here to help famlies heal and get on a road to recovery.

Also read:

Are Therapeutic Boarding Schools Effective?

Why Residential Therapy Works When Therapy Fails?

What Are the Goals of Therapeutic Boarding Schools?


If you’re considering a therapeutic boarding school for your difficult teenager, contact us for a free consultation.

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Many parents are at their wit’s end with the challenges of raising teenagers. If you are considering residential therapy, contact us for a free consultation.

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