High school is a tough time for a teen. Many today struggle with various mental health issues, and it seems only to get worse as they get closer and closer to graduating and contemplating their next steps. Poor mental health can impact so much of a teen’s life, affecting their future decisions significantly. That is why it is vital to know how to strengthen the mental health of these teens.
Understand the Struggles
During adolescent years poor mental health can impact so many parts of their lives. They may struggle to keep their grades up, have poor decision-making skills, and their physical health can even be affected. Poor mental health tends to go hand-in-hand with various other behavioral and health issues. Increased drug use could be one, along with possible violence and elevated risk of sexual behaviors leading to a heightened risk for STDs and unintended pregnancies.
Mental health habits and behaviors can be easily carried over into adulthood. Therefore it is crucial to support adolescents in strengthening their mental health.
Ways to Support
A key component to helping a high school senior is simply being there and supporting them unconditionally. The pressures of senior year are intense, and deciding what to do after high school can harm their mental health significantly. That is why it is important to be there for them as they make these decisions. If a student is having a tough time figuring out what to do, it may be a good idea to suggest doing some gap year fellowships. That way, they have the extra year to determine what they want to do.
Being connected to friends and family is also great support. This aids in preventing a wide range of negative experiences for a teen. Building strong bonds and relationships with their school friends and adults will help them have a sense of connectedness. High schoolers, especially ones going through their senior year, need to know that someone cares about them.
Ways to Strengthen
There are also many practical things a teen can do that will strengthen their mental health, especially as they are approaching the end of their high school career. When it is clear that some mental health issues are rising, it can be not very comforting. In those moments, many teens will turn to unhealthy coping behaviors. Instead, they can do a few things to strengthen their mental health through healthier options.
One big thing to help is sleep. Paying attention to sleep habits in teens and making sure their routine is good can be a considerable aid in their mental stability. It would be best if they could, at least, get eight hours of sleep a night. If they need some help, taking some melatonin before bed can help their brains release a sleep-inducing chemical that will help them fall asleep.
Getting some exercise can also be beneficial to a teen’s mental state. It supports their sleep schedule, creates some “me-time,” and can help elevate their self-esteem, reduce stress, and boost their happiness. One of the great things about exercise is that it comes in various forms, so teens can find something they will genuinely enjoy, making it all the better for them.
One other significant thing a teen can do to strengthen their mental health is limiting their time on social media and in front of screens. While social media can be beneficial, it also has a dark side. It can expose a teen to bullying and peer pressure and create unrealistic views of others’ lives. So, it is critical for a teen in high school, especially one about to graduate, to know how to use social media responsibly.
For those in high school looking at graduation, something that can strengthen their mental health is to start planning. Of course, they do not have to have their whole lives planned out, but simply writing out a schedule can help build a habit of organization and be an excellent tool for after graduation.
Mental health is a serious matter, especially for those high school seniors, and they must be supported and given opportunities to strengthen their mental health.