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Teen Mental Health Reading Resources

Life can be full of unpleasant feelings. A fight with a friend can feel like the end of the world, and struggles at school may make it seem like nothing else exists. These problems are part of growing up, and struggling with the feelings they bring is normal. However, when these feelings are so strong that they prevent you from living normally, it may be an indication of a mental health problem.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is a term that refers to your emotional and mental well-being. It’s a common issue for young people. Up to 20% of teenagers deal with some kind of mental health disorder, and there are many different forms a mental health disorder can take.

Anxiety disorders may make it difficult to stop worrying about something, while a mood disorder, like bipolar disorder, can make it hard to regulate your feelings. Eating disorders affect the way you see food and your body, and they can have serious effects on both physical and mental health. These may sound scary, but mental health problems are nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. With treatment, they can get better.

Facts and Myths

There is a lot of stigma surrounding the field of mental health. Stigma means that something is viewed as negative or shameful, but mental illnesses are nothing to be ashamed of. A mental illness can appear as a result of the brain acting weird or as the brain’s response to outside circumstances, like peer pressure or school-related stress. Unfortunately, many mental illnesses are misunderstood.

People with depression or anxiety may be told to “get over it” or “snap out of it,” but these conditions aren’t that easy to overcome. Like a cold or flu, they may require specialized treatment to help. People with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are portrayed in TV and movies as violent and dangerous, but in reality, people with these conditions are no more dangerous than anyone else. Learning about mental illnesses is the first step to understanding how to deal with them.

How to Stay Healthy

Just like with physical illnesses, there are things you can do to help your mind stay healthy. This is called developing resilience. The most important thing to do is take care of yourself, and this includes more than just getting enough sleep or eating the right food. Taking care of your mental health means being kind to yourself when you make a mistake or feel sad.

Instead of thinking things like, “Man, I’m such a loser,” practice saying, “I messed up, but it’s OK. I know I can do better next time.” Approach your own problems with as much compassion and kindness as you’d approach those of your best friend or family. If things get bad enough that you can’t seem to shake the thoughts, reach out to a friend, family member, or health professional for help. It can be hard to see beyond intense emotions, and asking someone else can help determine what the problem is.

Additional Resources

It may seem overwhelming to try and figure out where to start when learning about mental health. A mental illness can stem from lots of things, like bullying or problems at home, or it can be caused by genetics or hormonal changes. There are lots of online resources that can help. Whether it’s a problem that you’re personally dealing with or you have a friend who may be struggling, the important thing to remember is to be kind, patient, and supportive.

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