Teenage Mental Health Supports

The Rise of Mental Health Concerns
with Teens & How to Support Your Child

The threat to teenager's mental health is an ever-growing concern as
rates of mental illness continue to increase. There is still a lot parents
can do to help their students and take steps to support their mental

Teenage Mental Health
Mental Health has always been a concern when discussing the overall wellness of students of
all ages. But rates of mental health issues are on the rise, especially among teens. More and
more young people are experiencing mental health-related problems or are living with mental

In a 2021 study, over half of female high school students (57%) and 29% of male high schoolers
reported persistent feelings of hopelessness and sadness. These rates increased (69%) for
students in the LGBTQ+ community. Compared to the numbers reported in 2017, that is a 16%
and 8% increase for female and male students, respectively.

For our students and children, it is important that we do everything we can to prevent these
numbers from climbing even more. As parents, you can do a lot to support your child’s mental
well-being and ensure they get the help they need.

Depression in Adolescents
Hopelessness and sadness are two key indicators of student mental health, but there are many
other feelings and behaviors to be aware of. A combination of factors, both internal and
external, can affect the mental health of students and place young people at risk for suicide,
depression, substance use disorder, poor academic performance, and other severe

Depression can happen to anyone at any age, however, depression rates tend to increase
around puberty. In addition to the hormonal changes they are undergoing, teens are also
experiencing many new things that can cause stress and confusion, including changes to
relationships, responsibilities, and academic demands. While these changes are a normal part
of human development, teens shouldn’t go through them alone.

Why Teens Are at Risk For Mental Health Concerns
As any parent knows, it isn’t always easy to connect with children. Stigma and a lack of
information can keep children from reaching out or speaking about their experiences. Teens
may be especially hesitant to ask for help. They may fear being misunderstood, punished, or
judged. In order to address the threats to young people's mental health, it is important that we
find ways to connect despite these obstacles.

How Parents Can Help Support Their Student’s Mental Well-Being
  1. Listen. The best way to show your child you are there for them is by listening. Show
    them you are interested in their life by asking questions about their day, friends, or
    interests and actively engage with their responses. Building trust with the small things
    lets your child know they can come to you with the big things too. It also allows parents
    to get a sense of their child’s everyday demeanor and feelings, even if they aren’t as
    vocal in answering questions.
  2. Share. Sharing personal stories can help your child get to know what you were like at
    their age and not feel alone in their experiences. While it may be hard to get them to
    listen, by being vulnerable and open with them, you are showing your child it is safe to
    do the same. We have to lead by example.
  3. Connect. One of the best ways to help support mental health is to show the person
    struggling that they are not alone. Teens often don’t know about the resources available
    to help them and can feel isolated. Connecting your child with relevant resources in your
    community like school counseling, teletherapy, and teen crisis hotlines can help them
    feel less lonely and talk with others going through similar experiences.
  4. Advocate. Whether at home, at school, or in public, advocating for and with your child
    goes a long way in promoting the importance of mental health. Being vocal about
    resource allocation in schools, the founding of clubs and support groups in the
    community, and the need for mental health days are some of the many ways you can
    show your support.
  5. Learn. Destigmatizing mental health begins with learning more about it. There are tons
    of resources online that can give you more information on specific mental health
    concerns, what to look for in children, and how to help. Remember, you don't have to be
    perfect for your help to make an impact.

If you think a teen is experiencing a mental health crisis, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is
a national, 24/7 hotline that can connect you with a trained crisis counselor by phone or online
chat. Call or text 988 to be connected.

Clackamas Middle College is committed to bettering the mental health and well-being of all our
students. To learn more information about the school-based mental health services we offer to
our students and their families, please go to the Clackamas Middle College website.