Skip to content

How Teens Deal with Mental Health in High School

Navigating the landscape of high school can be both exciting and challenging for teenagers. Amidst academics, extracurriculars, and social dynamics, the topic of mental health often takes center stage. Adolescents are learning how to manage their emotions, cope with stress, and build resilience. From exam pressures to social expectations, understanding how teens deal with mental health in high school is essential. Join us as we delve into the strategies, support systems, and conversations that empower teenagers to prioritize their well-being during these formative years.

Nurturing Well-being Amidst Challenges

High school is a transformative period in every teenager’s life. As they grapple with the exciting journey of self-discovery, they also encounter a myriad of challenges that can impact their mental health. Let’s explore how teens navigate the complexities of mental well-being in this crucial phase:

1. Coping with Academic Pressures:

  • Teens often face demanding coursework, exams, and academic expectations.
  • Encouraging time management, setting realistic goals, and seeking academic support can help alleviate stress.

2. Navigating Social Dynamics:

  • Peer relationships, social cliques, and fitting in can create emotional turbulence.
  • Fostering open communication at home and promoting self-acceptance can provide a stable foundation.

3. Recognizing Emotional Responses:

  • Adolescence is a time of emotional intensity and exploration.
  • Teaching emotional intelligence empowers teens to identify and manage their feelings constructively.

4. Building Resilience:

  • Encouraging teens to view challenges as opportunities for growth fosters resilience.
  • Engaging in hobbies, extracurricular activities, and positive self-talk can boost their ability to bounce back.

5. Encouraging Peer Support:

  • Friends play a pivotal role in teens’ lives. Encouraging healthy friendships can provide a support network.
  • Discussing mental health openly and honestly reduces stigma and encourages seeking help when needed.

6. Promoting Healthy Habits:

  • Adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise contribute to overall well-being.
  • Teaching teens self-care routines empowers them to prioritize their physical and mental health.

7. Seeking Professional Help:

  • If struggling with persistent challenges, seeking guidance from mental health professionals is crucial.
  • Access to counselors, therapists, or school resources can offer tailored support.

8. Fostering Communication:

  • Creating an environment where teens feel comfortable discussing their thoughts and concerns is vital.
  • Actively listening without judgment fosters trust and strengthens the parent-teen relationship.

9. Redefining Success:

  • Encourage teens to define success beyond grades and achievements.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate their efforts, character growth, and personal development.

10. Educating About Mental Health:

  • Providing teens with accurate information about mental health and its challenges reduces misconceptions.
  • A well-informed perspective helps them recognize when they or their peers might need help.

In the intricate tapestry of high school life, mental health is a thread that weaves through every aspect. By understanding the unique challenges teens face and providing them with the tools to navigate them, we empower them to prioritize their well-being. Let’s cultivate an environment that fosters resilience, self-care, and open conversations – guiding our teens toward a brighter, healthier future.

Embracing Positive Change in High School

High school is a transformative journey that comes with its fair share of changes, challenges, and opportunities. Instead of fearing change, teenagers can learn to embrace it as a catalyst for positive development. This shift in perspective can shape a more fulfilling high school experience.

One crucial aspect is cultivating a growth mindset. Challenges and setbacks become stepping stones for growth and improvement. Setting realistic expectations is equally important – acknowledging that highs and lows are part of the journey helps in maintaining a balanced perspective.

High school is a hub of diversity, both in people and activities. Embracing this diversity can broaden horizons and lead to valuable friendships. Exploring extracurricular activities is a gateway to honing skills, discovering passions, and connecting with like-minded peers.

Time management becomes essential as academics and extracurriculars demand attention. Developing this skill reduces stress and ensures a well-rounded lifestyle. Seeking mentorship, whether from teachers or older students, provides guidance and a support system.

Navigating academic challenges requires adaptation and persistence. Mistakes should be seen as opportunities for learning and growth. Engaging in positive self-talk replaces self-doubt with self-assurance, fostering confidence in facing new experiences.

Ultimately, high school is about embracing change and learning to be resilient. It’s an opportunity to develop the skills and mindset that will serve teenagers well beyond these formative years. By approaching change with an open mind and a positive attitude, teenagers can make the most of this transformative phase in their lives.

Identifying Your Teen’s Struggles With Mental Health:

Recognizing signs of mental health issues in teenagers is crucial for early intervention and support. Here are some common signs to watch for:

  1. Changes in Behavior:

    • Sudden shifts in behavior, personality, or interests.
    • Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities they once enjoyed.
    • Unexplained irritability, anger, or mood swings.
  2. Emotional Changes:

    • Persistent sadness, hopelessness, or feelings of worthlessness.
    • Intense anxiety, excessive worrying, or sudden panic attacks.
    • Frequent mood changes that seem disproportionate to the situation.
  3. Academic Decline:

    • Significant drop in school performance or disinterest in academics.
    • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or completing tasks.
  4. Changes in Sleep Patterns:

    • Insomnia or oversleeping on a regular basis.
    • Complaints of fatigue, low energy, or a lack of motivation.
  5. Appetite Changes:

    • Drastic weight loss or gain without an apparent cause.
    • Changes in eating habits, such as binge eating or loss of appetite.
  6. Physical Symptoms:

    • Frequent headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained physical complaints.
    • Complaints of vague physical discomfort without a clear medical cause.
  7. Social Isolation:

    • Avoidance of social interactions, even with close friends and family.
    • Withdrawing from social media or online presence.
  8. Substance Abuse:

    • Experimentation with drugs, alcohol, or other substances.
    • Using substances as a way to cope with emotions or stress.
  9. Self-Harm or Suicidal Thoughts:

    • Talking about or engaging in self-harm behaviors like cutting.
    • Expressing thoughts of suicide, even if it’s veiled or subtle.
  10. Extreme Perfectionism or Obsessive Behavior:

    • Striving for perfection to an unhealthy degree.
    • Engaging in obsessive rituals, such as excessive hand washing or checking.
  11. Loss of Interest:

    • Loss of interest in activities, hobbies, or relationships that used to bring joy.
    • A general sense of apathy or indifference.
  12. Expressing Hopelessness:

    • Repeatedly expressing feelings of hopelessness or that life is not worth living.
    • Negative self-talk and a pessimistic outlook on the future.

It’s important to remember that these signs can vary from person to person, and some teens may exhibit only a few or different symptoms. If you notice persistent changes in your teen’s behavior, mood, or overall well-being, it’s essential to have an open and supportive conversation. If you’re concerned about their mental health, consider reaching out to us directly for guidance and assistance—reach out to our Relevance Teen Program or contact us here for support.

    Why Do Teenagers Cope With Drugs & Alcohol?

    Teenagers might turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the overwhelming challenges they face. The pressures of school, social expectations, family dynamics, and their own emotions can sometimes feel like too much to handle. Drugs and alcohol might seem like a temporary escape from these difficulties, offering a way to numb their pain or temporarily forget their worries. Additionally, peer pressure and a desire to fit in can contribute to their choices. However, it’s important to understand that using substances to cope can lead to more problems in the long run, affecting both their mental and physical well-being. Read below to understand greater the risks at hand:

    • 1. Hazardous Masking of Painful Emotions: Teens coping with mental health issues through alcohol or SUDs might experience a fleeting sense of relief. Yet, this masking of emotional pain is deceptive, as it merely conceals the underlying challenges. Rather than addressing the root causes, reliance on substances can further intensify the complexity of mental health concerns, leading to a vicious cycle of temporary relief followed by exacerbated distress.

      2. Escalation of Vulnerability to Addiction: Adolescence is a period of heightened vulnerability to addiction due to brain development. When teens utilize alcohol or substances as a means of coping, they inadvertently raise their susceptibility to developing a Substance Use Disorder. This not only magnifies the immediate risks but also establishes a precarious foundation that can shape their future struggles with dependency.

      3. Worsening Mental and Physical Health: The repercussions of using substances as a coping mechanism extend beyond just mental health deterioration. Alcohol and substances have the potential to intensify mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, these substances disrupt the intricate balance of brain chemistry, often resulting in the exacerbation of mental health symptoms. Moreover, the physical health toll can be substantial, contributing to ailments that further compound the overall distress.

      4. Socio-Emotional Isolation and Negative Life Outcomes: A grim consequence of relying on alcohol or SUDs for coping is the erosion of social connections. Teens who turn to substances may withdraw from friends, family, and their community, intensifying feelings of isolation. Such disconnection can breed a host of negative outcomes, including strained relationships, limited peer support, and a diminished sense of belonging. Furthermore, the ripple effects extend to potential legal ramifications, financial strain, and a greater likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors.

      In conclusion, while the allure of a quick escape through alcohol or substances may seem enticing, it is vital to recognize the immense dangers that this coping mechanism poses to teenagers grappling with mental health challenges. Encouraging open dialogue, nurturing healthy coping skills, and seeking professional guidance can provide teens with the support needed to navigate their mental health struggles effectively, without falling into the perilous trap of substance reliance.

    How Relevance Teen Can Help:

    Here at Relevance Teen, we also offer primary mental health treatment for those struggling with mental health disorders through our evidence-based and holistic approaches.  We treat the core issues that lead to mental illness and provide healing to teens and adolescents from 13-18. Through our individualized treatment experience, our clients are able to achieve long-term sustainable recovery.

    Expert staff specializing in teens and adolescents

    After-school outpatient counseling program

    Primary mental health treatment

    Provide clients with the tools needed for healing

    Our After-School Teen Program

    The Relevance Intensive Outpatient Program(IOP) is an after school treatment program offering structured therapeutic activities for youth. Our program offers a comprehensive range of services to address the individual needs of youth. Our programs aim to help youth/children struggling with various issues such as anxiety, depression, defiance, anger, bipolar and more. Additionally, there is a separate and distinct treatment tract specifically for those youth struggling with substance use disorders.

    Our multidisciplinary approach allows us tor each these adolescents more thoroughly, leading to widespread change in areas such as self-esteem, behavioral issues and family dynamics. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, including Trauma Focused CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), and other theoretical approaches, we are able to provide an evidenced-based treatment for youth/children who struggle with many symptoms of mental illness, particularly self-harm, and suicide as well as emotional dysregulation and difficulty tolerating crisis.

    Bipolar Disorder

    This chronic mental illness is characterized by soaring highs and devastating lows. It affects a person’s ability to think reasonably.

    Persistent Depressive Disorder

    This chronic type of depression lasts at least two years. It can get in the way of a person’s ability to function.

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

    This type of anxiety goes beyond the norm. People with GAD may experience ongoing worry about minor situations which can make it difficult for them to get through the day.

    Major Depressive Disorder

    Major Depressive Disorder is characterized by feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness. Many people who deal with this illness have suicidal thoughts.

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

    People with OCD will have constant repetitive thoughts and obsessions with things and tasks. They may feel the need to carry out unnecessary behaviors as a coping mechanism.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    PTSD is brought on by a traumatic experience that occurred at some point in a person’s life. It causes them to have ongoing feelings of anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares.


    Schizophrenia interferes with a person’s perception of the world around them. It is characterized by hallucinations and delusions. It can cause the person to endanger themselves and others.

    Social Anxiety Disorder

    Social anxiety disorder is excessive anxiety brought on by social situations.

    Relevance Teen’s authentic, multiple-pathway philosophy  ensures long-term, affordable care for all clients. We believe that recovery is not a one size fits all solution. Our staff of Master’s Level Clinicians utilizes the best evidence-based practices to create an individualized recovery plan for each client. Our state-of-the-art facilities, program modalities, and therapeutic treatments are fully accredited and offer comfort and safety to clients of all demographic backgrounds

    Relevance Teen Can Help You Stay Focused on Your Recovery Goals

    Our teen mental health treatment program in New Jersey is unique, holistic, multidisciplinary, and integrative. When clients begin their journey at Relevance Teen, they can expect a truly individualized approach when treating mental health.

    Contact us today for more information about our programs or to begin your journey toward lasting recovery.

    Request a Callback

    "*" indicates required fields