Teen and Family Mental Health Myth
When teens and troubled youth are struggling with their mental health, it’s often hard for them to figure out what they’re feeling and how to deal with it. Parents can have the same problems as well. It can take a long time for parents to figure out what’s wrong with their teens and how they can help them. There are a lot of myths surrounding teen mental health, and these myths need to be eliminated so that teens can get the help they need. USA Today listed a number of prime examples that parents and teens should pay attention to. Debunking Mental Health Myths In the Family As this report explains, it’s estimated that 17.1 million kids in America have had mental, emotional, and behavioral problems, and many of them do not get the help they need. The first big myth that USA Today debunks is that when teens have mental health trouble, they’re “damaged for life.” Not so. As Randy Brazie writes, “Treatment works and recovery is always possible.” And indeed, we see people all the time that had mental health problems as teens, and they went on to great things in life, proving that many mental health problems can be conquered with the right treatment. Another myth that should be debunked is that teens suffer mental health problems from “weakness.” Just like suffering from an addiction is not a weakness, mental health has nothing to do with a teen’s intelligence or willpower. Often times, like in addiction, mental health problems can stem from chemical imbalances in the brain. Environment and past trauma can also lead to mental health issues as well. While teens with mental health issues can have problematic behavior, it’s also not a case of willpower, much like addiction can’t be controlled through willpower either. Kids and teens are still developing their brains, and many times they don’t have the experience and coping skills to deal with things. How Parents Can Cope and Help Their Families Along with the myth that teens can control their mental issues through willpower, another important myth that needs to end is that “therapy is a waste of time.” As this article explains, your kids and teens can’t solve their problems in one session, and it is often an ongoing process that takes time and work. “Parents should encourage their child to hang in there for the duration of his or her treatment and to speak up if something isn’t working.” Another important myth to keep in mind is that children and teens will outgrow a mental health issue. There are some mental health issues that people will have to deal with their entire lives. This is not something your teens should fear because many adults have to deal with mental health issues the rest of their lives as well, whether it’s depression, addiction, and other problems. As this story explains, “Recovery from mental health problems is not just a matter of ‘waiting it out.’” Helping your teens deal with mental and emotional issues takes time, and this story recommends realizing that your teen’s problems can’t be solved overnight. As a parent, learning how to deal with your teen’s mental health issues will also take time and work as well, and it can be a lifelong endeavor. It won’t always be easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding with the right help.