Mental Health

Due to recent research on the teen brain, we are finally beginning to understand how a young person’s brain operates, the critical development that takes place during this time as well as how vulnerable the young brain is. According to NAMI, one in five youth ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental health illness.  It is also important to note that fifty percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and seventy percent by age 24. Suicide has risen to the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24 and ninety percent of these youth had an underlying mental illness. While these facts are alarming in themselves, what’s also quite concerning is that the average delay between the onset of symptoms and interventions is 8-10 years and yet ninety percent of individuals with mental health disorders are treatable with a variety of therapies and supports.  It’s critical we begin to educate ourselves on the developing brain in our youth as well as recognize when a mental health issue is presenting. The teen brain operates differently than an adult and is not fully mature until the late 20s and the mental health issues they experience present differently also. This is a time of significant stress and physical and mental change but with proper education and treatment, our youth can go on to live mentally healthy lives.

Community-Based Behavioral Health Resources

Mental health and substance abuse disorders affect millions of Americans each year, but there are several local organizations that provide hope and healing. If you are in need of behavioral health services, this PDF will show you the organizations in our community that can offer help for your teen and other family members.

Community-Based Behavioral Health Services

mental health marijuana underage drinking prescription drug resource

Mental Health Facts for Children and Teens

1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness. This infographic shows the statistics on incidence, impact and outcomes. It also provides warning signs of mental illness along with recommendations for action if you see the signs in your own children.

Mental Health Facts Infographic

Mental health facts

Medical News Today

Depression is more than just feeling a bit sad now and again. It diminishes many aspects of daily living, such as sleeping, eating, working, enjoying hobbies, and socializing.

Major depression is a common mental disorder among teenagers in the United States. National estimates for 2015 suggest that 3 million young people aged between 12 and 17 had experienced “at least one major depressive episode in the past year.” This figure represents 12.5 percent of that age group in the U.S.

The likelihood of developing marijuana-use disorder is four to seven times higher in people who start using the drug before the age of 18.

Depression Linked to Marijuana Use

Marijuana Mental Health resource

Helpful Websites

Just Think Twice

School Stress: 8 Ways to Deal
School can be STRESSFUL. But whatever you do to deal with it, turning to drugs is a bad idea. Drugs damage your brain (which makes things worse) and can leave you with lifelong issues. See eight ways you can get rid of stress without turning to drugs.

Just Think Twice

Just Think Twice website

NPR: The Teen Brain: It’s Just Not Grown Up Yet

“What were you thinking?”

“It’s a resounding mantra of parents and teachers,” says Jensen, who’s a pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Jensen says scientists used to think human brain development was pretty complete by age 10. Or as she puts it, that “a teenage brain is just an adult brain with fewer miles on it.”

But it’s not. To begin with, she says, a crucial part of the brain — the frontal lobes — are not fully connected. Really.

The Teen Brain

NPR: The Teen Brain website

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is committed to helping families struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use. They empower families with information, support and guidance to get the help their loved one needs and deserves. And they advocate for greater understanding and more effective programs to treat the disease of addiction.

Learn About Substance Abuse in Teens
Brain Development and Teen Behavior
Read the Parents’ Blog

Partnership for Drug-free Kids website

Power to the Parent

Power to the Parent is here to empower you, to give you the hardcore facts, strategies and information, and to help you get through to your teens. Together we can do this.

Teenagers have their whole life ahead of them. Education and career. Friends and family. One wonderful chapter after another. As parents, there is nothing in our own lives that we will ever do that is as important as making sure our kids have the chance to make that journey. On this website, access information and get inspiration.

Parenting Skills

Power to the Parent website

Teen Suicide Risk

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers, and it’s a tragedy that can be prevented. Given that almost 15 percent of high school students say they’ve seriously considered suicide in the past year, parents and friends need to know how to recognize when a teenager is in trouble and how to help.

In a new survey of teenagers and parents in Chicago and in the Kansas City, Kan., area, which appears online in Pediatrics, both parents and teenagers said that teen suicide was a problem, but not in their community. Suicide is a universal problem; no area is immune.

Don’t be clueless

US News Teen Suicide Risk

Mental Health Matters

It’s not uncommon for teens with disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder to turn to substances to feel better. For instance, if a teen is experiencing symptoms of depression with low energy, inability to concentrate, feeling the need to isolate, and generally feeling down, they may rely upon alcohol or drugs to help themselves feel better. Some teens might feel pressure from their parents to do well in school, for instance, but the lack of concentration and low energy may get in the way of succeeding academically, and as a result, they may drink or use drugs to try to overcome their symptoms.

Mental Health Matters

Mental Health matters website

Helpful Books

Raising Kids to Thrive

From award-winning author Ken Ginsburg comes this new work which explores an innovative idea in parenting: “The Lighthouse Parenting Strategy.” Dr. Ginsburg’s previous work includes “Building Resilience in Children and Teens” which offers a comprehensive overview of strategies to build resilience and promote the kind of traits that lead to our children becoming happy, successful adults. This book offers a deeper dive into two fundamental questions over which parents struggle: 1) How do I give my child the unconditional love he needs to thrive, while also holding him to high expectations? and 2) How do I protect my child while also letting her learn life’s lessons?

Raising Kids to Thrive

Mental Health book Raising Kids to Thrive

Building Resilience in Children and Teens

“Building Resilience” directly addresses how adolescents sometimes respond to stress by either indulging in unhealthy behaviors or giving up completely. It offers detailed coping strategies to help children and teens deal with stress due to academic pressure, high achievement standards, media messages, peer pressure, and family tension. Equipped with these strategies, our children will be more likely to be poised for success and less likely to turn to the dangerous quick fixes we fear.

Also included are 15 cloud-based parent videos with the option to purchase over 100 more. This leading-edge multimedia format will allow you to better share resilience-building strategies with your spouse, teens, or community/school organizations.

Building Resilience in Children and Teens

Mental Health book Building Resilience

Raising Resilient Children

“Thoughtful and sound in its approach, practical and clear in its suggestions, direct and supportive in its tone, Raising Resilient Children is the perfect book for parents searching for a caring method to help their children grow into healthy, happy, loving, and mature adults.” – ­­William Pollack, Ph.D., author of Real Boys

“A very important work. This not-to-be-missed book debunks the paradigm (‘Good enough for me: I turned out OK’) and replaces it with a new model fostering resilience capable of meeting obstacles head-on.”­­ – Library Journal

Raising Resilient Children

Mental Health book Raising Resilient Children

How Children Succeed

Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed

Mental Health book How Children Succeed