Life can be hard for everyone, white, black, rich, poor, young and old. Difficulties hit some harder than others but no one is ever really spared. Believe it or not, mental health issues are especially serious for teens. The American Psychological Association reported that teens feel stress at greater levels than adults during the school year. This type of stress takes an obvious toll on teens’ mental health.

In order to combat that, we’ve created a list of 5 ways to help teens improve their mental health. We hope that something on this list will help the teens in your life reduce fight back against mental health problems.

1. Take a break from social media

Social media is where people post their best selves. It’s easy to feel inadequate when you only see the best parts of everyone else’s life while you experience your own life in its entirety. It’s no wonder that social media has been linked to depression.

It also doesn’t help that social media can look like Drama Central. Since those who you follow on social media tend to have similar views as you, or they tend to be peers of yours, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can act like an echo chamber. It takes the worries of tests, personal relationships, college and every other drama out there and magnifies it a hundred fold.

Sometimes it’s best just to take a break from it all. Log off and remove the apps from your phone. You won’t miss anything that’s really important anyway. That’s a promise.

2. Exercise

Exercising raises endorphin levels which can help you feel better. Even a simple walk will work. Studies have shown that walking through nature has a mood-boosting effect. So the next time you’re feeling down, find a nice nature path and take a slow, relaxing walk.

Consider it your own sort of wilderness therapy.

3. Hang out with good friends

Studies have shown that being alone for long periods of time can have a negative effect on the mental health of teenagers. In fact, simply hanging out with a best friend can fight back stress. So the next time you’re feeling stressed, give a good friend a call and hang out with him or her face-to-face.

It’s important to remember that these friends should build us up and not tear us down. Make sure to surround yourself with good people who are willing to help you become a better person. Also, there is no good reason why family can’t be friends as well.

4. Talk to your doctor

It’s important to remember that mental health is a real health issue. If you’re sick or injured, you go to the doctor to get better. Mental health should be no different. A doctor should be able to help you better pinpoint what to do to work on your mental health.

A doctor can help you better pinpoint what you need in order to feel better. They may recommend that you go on more walks like we have, or they may recommend that you see a therapist. In some rare occasions, they may even prescribe medicine that can help you much like antibiotics can help with an infection. No matter what the doctor recommends, it’s important to remember that they only have your well-being in mind.

5. Go to therapy

Some may wonder why they should go to therapy if they can go to a doctor instead. For many people, their mental health issues aren’t something that specifically need medication but they may need something more than an hour at the gym to fix. Therapists can help walk you through your day-to-day problems. That’s why wilderness therapy programs hire therapists to help troubled teens while they’re out camping. Therapists are great at helping people identify what elicits their emotions and how to best deal with them.

In the end, mental health is a serious and complex issue. While some just need to get out more, others legitimately need professional help to get over these mental health issues. Teens are no exception to this rule. Whether it’s a long nature walk, wilderness therapy, hanging out with friends or seeing a doctor, it’s important that families of teens seek and receive the help their kids need. Nothing short of proper help will do.

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Author: Elliot Caleira

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he’s not writing you’ll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes.

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