Childhood and adolescence are critical times to promote mental health - as more than half of mental health problems start at these early stages in life. Many of these issues persist throughout adulthood.
An estimated 11% of American children have a mental health issue – and the prevalence is increasing in recent years.
There are many benefits to seeking treatment for mental health as an adolescent, such as decreasing depression and anxiety, or improving social skills.
Depression is a common and high-priority issue in adolescent mental health. This is due to the increased risk of self-harm and suicidal behavior.
Symptoms of Depression:
Anxiety disorders often develop during adolescence, including generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and social anxiety.
Eating disorders are characterized by extreme and abnormal eating behaviors, such as insufficient or excessive eating. Examples include anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating.
Attention deficit disorders present [remove with] severe concentration or attention problems, and sometimes also coupled with hyperactivity.
Conduct disorders are defined when a young person repeatedly violates the rights of others, or other age-appropriate norms.
School Refusal is a persistent irrational fear of going to school, and is often seen with increased anxiety symptoms when at or near school.
Common signs of school refusal:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on the activities in an individual’s life, rather than the events that lead up to their difficulties. It is based on the following:
CBT is based on the core principle that what we think, how we feel, and how we behave are all closely connected.
With CBT we identify and change thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior or emotions.
Raising awareness of negative and often unrealistic thoughts can be effective to help patients overcome a wide variety of maladaptive behaviors.
Some examples of CBT exercises include:
CBT is problem-oriented, short-term and requires less time investment than other forms of therapy.
CBT is one of the most utilized and studied forms of therapy. Research suggests that CBIT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life – and has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than other psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
MI is non-confrontational. It is used to strengthen personal motivation and foster a commitment to a specific goal. It is a goal-oriented and collaborative style of counseling.
MI encourages an empathetic and open discussion about an individual’s life, as well as their substance use. The goal is to explore the individual’s interest to change, any potential roadblocks and the path to improve motivation.
Motivational Interviewing values individual autonomy. It does not require the individual to admit to anything before considering behavioral changes.
Important exercises to encounter with Motivational Interviewing:
Motivational Interviewing meets the American Psychological Association’s criteria for promising treatments of adolescent substance abuse. Individuals with co-occurring mental health & substance abuse issues can benefit from MI techniques to improve psychiatric outcomes.
Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
Trauma is an external event with long-lasting effects on mental well-being - and is highly correlated with mental health outcomes.
Trauma can negatively affect your well-being, including your physical and mental health.
Trauma is widespread across society. Many people who seek help for mental health have histories of trauma, but often don’t recognize the effects of trauma in their lives.
Trauma comes in many forms:
Trauma-informed care is a holistic approach, a change in perspective: the focus shifts from “what is wrong with you?” to “what happened to you?”.
Practices trained in TIC have many benefits to you:
Adolescent development is critical and it is important that mental health interventions take into account developmental issues, including:
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