It is observed globally on March 2 every year. This day is observed to raise awareness about the mental health concerns that teenagers experience, with the aim of decreasing stigma associated with these issues and accessing support.
It’s important to acknowledge that these teen years are years marked by changes for young adolescents. These changes are not only with regard to their changing bodies and needs but also with regard to their values and beliefs and sense of self.
Teenagers are also exploring their own boundaries and that of the world around them, the need to belong and fit in are strong as is the need to assert their independence. This could cause concern and strife within existing relationships especially that of parent and child.
Teenagers may experience many other events like abuse, peer pressure, substance abuse, pressure to succeed, etc that may further exacerbate mental health concerns. Studies show that anxiety related concerns, depression and intense emotions, are high in teens and can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms in the absence of support.
A balanced routine involving exercise, outdoor activities, meditation, open channels of communication with trusted adults, and access to mental health resources and support are helpful to support teen wellbeing.
As parents and caregivers, we need to understand that teenage emotions and feelings are valid and very real. Equipping ourselves with tools to respond and communicate with them will go a long way towards building healthy relationships and support systems for our teens.