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When seeking mental health help for teenagers, parents should consider the signs and symptoms their teen is dealing with. It’s essential to learn about teen mental health, understand what common mental health conditions look like, and explore various treatment options, including talk therapy and medication. While lifestyle changes can help, parents should prioritize seeking medical guidance to ensure effective care.

Parents play a crucial role in teen mental health. Rebellious behavior, peer pressure, and increased independence can sometimes make parents feel they’re no longer being listened to. However, even as adults, parental influence tends to be strong in young people until they leave home.

When teens struggle with their mental health, parents can make use of that influence to encourage treatment. Learning more about mental health issues can empower parents to step in and provide the right kind of support. This article provides a comprehensive guide for parents interested in finding mental health help for teenagers.

Exploring Mental Health Help for Teenagers

Learning more about common mental health problems and their first line treatments can give parents a better understanding of what teens are facing today, what kind of risk factors to consider and address, and what protective factors to explore.

Understanding the available resources, from teen mental health treatment options to mental health programs for teens, is crucial for parents seeking the best care for their teenagers.

Here’s what parents need to know about finding the right mental health help for teenagers:

Recognizing the Signs of Teen Mental Health Issues

The telltale sign of mental health issues is a sudden and unexplained change in behavior. While it’s normal for teen behavior to change over time, one of the more common characteristics for the onset of a mental health problem is an unforeseen or sudden change with no clear cause.

Losing interest in all hobbies, withdrawing completely after being social butterflies, or suddenly struggling immensely in school for the first time are common red flags for mental health issues in teens. Some more concrete signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Sudden changes in appetite.
  • Pain complaints with no physical cause.
  • Social withdrawal/antisocial behavior.
  • Frequent lying or risky (even illegal) behavior.
  • Hiding signs of substance use.
  • Inability to sleep, or chronic oversleeping.
  • Rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss.
  • Sudden problems with focus and memory.

Related: Top 7 Teen Mental Health Issues

Talking with Your Teen

Regardless of whether your teen has been acting strange, it’s important to check in with them occasionally and talk. Don’t interrogate them—use mutual activities or family moments to ask them, genuinely and earnestly, how they’re feeling and what’s been on their mind. Hear them out and listen.

Providing Mental Health Help for Teenagers at Home

If your teens have been struggling lately – whether it’s just a bit of stress or something more serious – it helps to know that you can help.

If you’re cooking with or for your teen, keeping an eye on their diet can make a difference. Increase your intake of fresh food, and especially vegetables. A lack of critical nutrients can affect mood. Consider simple vitamin supplements, especially over the winter months.

If your teens struggle to sleep, talk to them about their screen usage. Get the whole family on board with turning in their phones before bed, and help your teen set up a consistent pre-sleep ritual (such as a warm shower and a cool, dark room) to improve their rest.

Exercise is a proven treatment modality for mental health issues. If your teen has struggled to get moving lately, get moving with them. Pull them along for your gym sessions, or take them on frequent nature walks. Find out what kind of movement they like and incentivize them to do it more often.

Exploring Professional Mental Health Help for Teenagers

When dealing with serious mental health challenges, professional treatment should be a parent’s priority. Getting a psychiatric assessment and a concrete diagnosis is an important first step. From there, treatment plans can be formulated based on your teen’s needs.

Talk to your teen about visiting a therapist or counselor together or seek a referral to a psychologist specializing in teen mental health from your family doctor. Explore your teen’s options for mental health support at school.

Therapy Modalities for Teens

Learning more about how mental health issues can be treated helps parents better understand what their teen might have to look forward to in treatment. Most mental health modalities center around psychotherapy, which is a framework for discussing mental health issues with teens and providing them with behavioral and cognitive exercises that might minimize their mental health symptoms. Standard psychotherapy methods include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

Talk therapies are modulated through medication, which can help make therapy more effective or dampen the most substantial symptoms (such as strong suicidal ideation or severe psychosis). Some therapy programs utilize other techniques or assisting technologies to amplify further treatment results, such as brain spotting, EMDR, and neural stimulation.

Related: Therapy for Teens: What Parents Should Know

The Role of Family

Social support is crucial in the treatment of any teen mental health issue, and a teen’s strongest social anchor is their family.

Encouraging and supporting your teen on every step of their treatment process is important for giving them full confidence in their treatment, which can help improve outcomes. A positive outlook on health leads to better results in both physical and mental health problems.

Furthermore, family members can hold teens accountable during recovery, encourage them to continue going to therapy and ensure that they adhere to their treatment.

Related: How to Help A Teenager with Mental Health Issues

Extended Care and Continued Support

Mental health treatment plans can vary in length and intensity, depending on the severity of a teen’s condition and the treatments they need.

Sometimes, teens require an intensive intervention through an inpatient treatment facility, after which they are encouraged to continue seeking support through local and online resources, such as help groups, support meetings, and their friends and family.

It’s important to discuss with your teen’s treatment provider what ideal extended care might look like and work with them to ensure continued support.

Learn more about Teen Extended Care

Start With A Free Assessment Today

Are you concerned about your teen’s mental health? Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers offer a free assessment to help you explore the best mental health help for your teenager.

Our experienced teen treatment center provides comprehensive treatment programs tailored to your teen’s needs, ensuring they receive the support and care they deserve.

Contact us today to schedule your assessment and take the first step toward your teen’s mental wellness journey.


Learning more about teen mental health issues can give parents a broader understanding of mental health problems in general and provide them with the framework they need to help support their teen.

A better understanding of how different mental health issues are treated also gives parents the confidence to seek out professional treatment for their teens and offer the right level of care afterward. It’s essential to keep learning about mental health issues to make informed decisions with your teen and support them on their journey to wellness.