How to support a teen’s mental health

If you could be a teenager today, would you do it? Being a teenager in 2023 might be one of the most challenging generations to be a teen in. Think about it — living in the times of post COVID and virtual learning, social media and what is “trending,” and having such easy access to knowing what your peers are up to in real-time. Not to mention trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life regarding going to college and/or working and just making it through the school day. Throw in extra-curricular activities, friends, and family; it can seem pretty overwhelming!

Mental health support for a teen is crucial. Teens are learning about life and preparing for “the real world.” We carry with us the skills learned in adolescence and early adulthood for the rest of our lives. As the people working with and raising this group, it is essential to help them set themselves up for success in the best ways for them! What does that look like, and where do we start? Checking in; Sometimes we are so wrapped up in life; we forget the simple act of “How are you, really?” and giving support. Support is huge and needs to come from many different places, such as friends, teammates, teachers, coaches, family members, and mental health professionals.

In addition, there are many supports locally, such as the Chautauqua County Warmline 1-877-426-4373 (call) and 716-392-0252 (text), the Chautauqua County 24/7 Crisis Line 1-800-724-0461 (call), the Trevor lifeline LGBTQ+ 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678, call or text 988.

Elizabeth Grupa is a mental health counselor in the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.


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