Hello #bfitnation. This will be the first of many posts about mental health and how it relates to teens. Trying to pick a topic for our first post wasn’t easy because there is so much to discuss. So let’s just start off with the very basic need for addressing mental health. We need to talk about it!
We can’t pretend that everything is perfect all of the time. Teens face a lot of pressure and constantly striving for perfection can be overwhelming. But let’s face it; nobody is perfect. It’s OK to talk about your feelings and ask for help when you’re struggling. Asking for help does not always mean that you’re going to have to deal with these issues the rest of your life.
As someone who gets the extraordinary privilege of working with children and adolescents who struggle with behavioral health problems, I’m always impressed with the amount of resilience and recovery potential teens have. Feeling anxious and depressed from time to time is completely NORMAL. Everyone experiences these emotions, but when these feelings become more frequent or start causing problems in your life, it’s time to reach out for help.
Too often we ignore our feelings. We try to distract ourselves with music, sports, TV, and social media. Some teens even turn to drugs and alcohol. While these things may provide temporary relief, they can easily become self-destructive patterns of behavior.
In order to feel better, we need to ask for help. We need to let others know how we’re doing. We need to work on managing our thoughts and emotions. Sometimes we even need to see doctors and take medications. None of this happens if we don’t talk.
As you read through future blog posts, which I hope you will find useful, please remember that if you are having problems with your thoughts or feelings, it’s OK to ask for help. You are not alone and there are many resources out there for you. The more you take advantage of them, the stronger you will become.
Written by: Steve Smith, MS, LCPC, CRADC, LPHA, Director, Aspen Counseling and Consulting and Rosecrance Berry Campus