What Every Parent Needs to Understand about Teens’ Mental Health

December 01, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


A new report suggests that mental health outcomes among American teens are worsening. Researchers at Mental Health America examined 2010 to 2015 state data and found that rates of severe depression among youth increased from 5.9 to 8.2 percent. Nearly half of participants between ages 11 and 17 reported recent thoughts of suicide or self-harm. While access to treatment and insurance increased overall, the report found that many young people with mental health problems are not receiving the care that they need. According to experts, parents can play an important role in supporting youth with mental health issues. They recommend parents look for changes in behavior that could signal their child is struggling and start a conversation about it. Experts also suggest talking about any family history of mental illness, which can help reduce the secrecy and shame commonly associated with mental health issues. Theresa Nguyen, Mental Health America vice president of policy and programs, said that mental illness should be treated with the same compassion and care as physical illness. “We wouldn’t be afraid to talk and hear about cancer or diabetes. Why are we afraid to share about mental illness?”

Spark Extra! Read the full report.