Michaela is a high school sophomore. She’s a straight A student, excels as point guard on the girls’ basketball team, plays second chair clarinet in the marching band and is popular with teachers and other students alike. Suddenly, Michaela starts showing up late for class. She stops turning in her homework on time, misses several basketball practices and drops out of marching band. You’re her teacher, and you’ve noticed Michaela’s behavior changes. What do you do?
It would be easy to chalk Michaela’s changing behaviors up to average teen antics. But these drastic shifts can also be signs of a developing mental health or substance use challenge.
When it comes to mental health, teens may not always know how to identify their problems and ask an adult for help directly. And even if they do recognize that they are facing a mental health challenge, they may not feel comfortable initiating a conversation about it with an adult. That’s why it’s important for adults who regularly interact with young people – whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach or caregiver – to know how to spot the signs that a teen in your life may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge, and how to provide the appropriate support.
Here are 5 ways a teen might be asking for help with a mental health challenge:
It can be hard for anyone to reach out and ask for help when they need it, and in the vulnerable teen years, it can be even more difficult. It’s critical that any adult who regularly interacts with young people has the skills to recognize these – and other – warning signs, and to start a conversation that can help someone get on the path to recovery. Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches these skills.
When more adults are trained in how to help, more young people can get the support they need, when they need it most. Get trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid so you can learn more and #BeTheDifference in a young person’s life.