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Adolescent Mental Health: Second Semester

With the holiday break completed successfully, kids are back at school and things are getting back to “normal”. Unfortunately for many young people, today’s normal includes levels of anxiety and depression much higher than those of previous generations. These are some ways that parents and other concerned adults can help. 

  • Remember that adolescent brains are focused on creating relationships with peers and others outside of their immediate family.  This developmental task builds skills that young people will need to move into adulthood successfully. Guidance, empathy, and flexibility from adults makes it much more likely that young people will talk about their experiences and ask for help if they feel overwhelmed.

  • Remind teenaged students often that grades are not a measure of a person’s value, nor of the possibility of future success. Encourage those who have unlimited access to their grades to avoid checking daily, or even weekly. Help them to advocate for themselves with teachers and other school staff to make sure that they get what they need to meet their own standards of achievement. 

  • Ask what’s going on, even if the answers might be scary.  Make sure adolescents know who they can talk to when they don’t know what to do.  Say something when you see what might be anxiety or depression, then listen openly without judgment and team up to figure out how to get relief.

Child and Family Services has programs to help adolescents and young adults manage their unique challenges. The Information can be found at

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