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Teens and Mental Health

Adolescence can feel like a strange, uncharted, and formative time. Physical, emotional, and social changes, such as exposure to poverty, discrimination, abuse, immigration, etc., can make teenagers vulnerable to mental health challenges. On top of that, with the rise in social media, there has been an increase in mental health awareness and self-diagnosis amongst the youth. More than ever, teenagers are seeking services for mental health needs that are continuing to go unmet. It is becoming more apparent that our teens and adolescents need quality mental health care, especially our minority youth, who are experiencing mental health challenges at a disproportionate rate. Let’s take a moment to discuss the importance of mental health in minority communities and specifically minority teenagers.

Along with all the challenges and factors that can impact a teenager’s mental health, the effects of trauma on minority communities can have long-lasting impacts that span over generations. The stigma around mental health among minority communities can act as another barrier for our minority youth. For most marginalized communities, mental health is such a “hush hush” subject that many minority teenagers will go without receiving the support they may need. As mental health awareness continues to grow, we must shift towards promoting mental wellness and access to care for our marginalized teens.

In order to effectively support adolescents from minority communities, we need to address the range of barriers that hinder access to care. Mistrust of the healthcare system, the “model minority” stereotype, finances, and other factors can influence a teenager’s decision to seek help. Even when they are able to access mental healthcare, minority adolescents are often treated by providers who don’t look like them and don’t understand their experiences. Here are some ways to support youth and their mental health journey:

Start having conversations about the benefits of mental health with your teens.

Be open to their perspectives and their experiences.

Be supportive and open-minded.

Admit when you don’t understand and ask for clarification.

Advocate for affordable access to mental health.

Use practices such as Isaiah Counseling & Wellness for culturally competent providers who can support and understand your child’s experiences.

As we know, teenagers are our future leaders. It is in their best interest and ours, to support them in their growth. If you are a teen who needs support with mental health or you are a parent, connect with our experienced team of therapists at Isaiah Counseling & Wellness. We would love to join you on your journey to mental and emotional wellness.