How to spot mental health problems in your teen

Mental health has now become a topic that we can comfortably address openly.

This is great because we are learning how to recognize the signs of mental illness in ourselves and those around us.

Although a proper diagnosis is needed to confirm what specific illness one is dealing with, you can still see some of those signs that show something isn’t right.

In teens, specifically, there are common indicators that you should be keen to spot so that you can provide the support they need.

This is a very urgent issue that all parents need to be aware of. Teen suicide rates are becoming more alarming, and seeing these signs early could potentially save a life.

To understand the depth of this sensitive matter, let us have a look at five signs of mental health problems in your teenager that you need to know about:

1. Dropping grades

Tracking your child’s progress in school isn’t just for career purposes. The trends you see can show the state of their emotional well-being as well.

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If your child used to get certain grades but suddenly they’re struggling, that could be a sign. This change can also happen gradually over time so you need to look out for the signs that they need help, through their academic trends.

2. Disinterest in activities they loved

Another way to know is by checking whether they have lost interest in things they enjoyed doing before. Maybe they used to get excited about playing soccer after school or loved hanging out with their younger sibling, but now, you will notice that they don’t have the same motivation anymore.

This change might mean they are battling some issues that are draining all their energy and motivation.

3. Self-harm

Self-harm can come in different forms. People who struggle with this might hit, cut or even burn themselves.

Although self-harm isn’t always a sign that someone is suicidal, it does indicate that this person is dealing with a severe mental struggle. If you see some unexplained marks on your teen, like on the wrists, they might be self-harming and this is a sign that they need help.

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4. Appetite shifts

Your teen’s relationship with food might also change if they’re dealing with mental health problems. It shouldn’t be a concern if they are not that interested in eating for a day or two but if this shift goes on for a long time, then there is an urgent problem you need to be aware of.

In some, the shift might move from eating normally to eating excessively so you need to also be aware of that.

5. Severe mood swings

Teenagers usually experience mood swings from time to time, which is normal. They are going through hormonal shifts and life changes that can cause these mood changes so this isn’t always something to worry about.

What you need to be keen on is whether these changes are becoming more unpredictable and severe than before. And when these extreme mood changes are coupled with other signs, it could also be connected to a mental health problem.