Adolescence is a time of significant emotional, physical, and mental change. With the increasing pressures of school, peer relationships, and social media, it is important to be aware of the signs that your teen may be struggling with their mental health. While some signs are obvious others can be subtle and easily overlooked.
This is why it’s essential to stay informed and educated on the topic and pay close attention to your teenager’s physical and behavioural cues that could indicate a problem.
There are certain signs that may suggest that your teen is experiencing difficulties that could be related to their mental health:
Changes in mood or behaviour:
If your teen seems to be experiencing sudden mood swings, becoming more irritable or withdrawing from social situations, these could be signs of depression or anxiety. It’s important to keep an eye out for these changes and to talk to your teen if you’re concerned.
Changes in sleeping patterns:
Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, or oversleeping could indicate depression or anxiety. If your teen is sleeping significantly more or less than usual, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with them about their mental well-being.
Changes in eating habits:
If your teen is either overeating or not eating enough, this could indicate that they are struggling with anxiety or depression.
Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are also common in teenagers and can lead to significant health problems.
Decline in academic performance:
If your teen is struggling with their studies, it could be a sign of a mental health problem, such as ADHD, depression or anxiety. This is especially true if your teen was previously a good student.
Substance abuse is a common sign that your teen may be struggling with their mental health. Alcohol or drug use can often be a coping mechanism for individuals who are struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems.
Self-harm or suicidal thoughts:
If your teen is engaging in self-harm or expressing thoughts of suicide, it’s important to take this seriously and seek professional help immediately. These behaviours can be signs of serious mental health problems and could be life-threatening.
Lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy:
If your teen has lost interest in activities that they once enjoyed, such as playing sports, hanging out with friends, or doing hobbies, this could be a sign that they are struggling with their mental health.
Nutrients to help support your teen
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in mood regulation, sleep and overall well being. We know that lack of vitamin D can lead to low moods, depression, anxiety & other health issues, particularly in the winter months when natural sunlight is scarce. Encourage your teen to spend time outdoors, and consider a Vitamin D supplement, especially during the winter months.
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in brain function, mood regulation and the immune system. More specifically zinc is involved in neurotransmitter function, therefore it helps in healthy balance of the brian chemical that assist in mood, cognition and behaviour.
Again iodine is an essential nutrient which helps to regulate thyroid hormones, which play a critical role in growth, metabolism, mood & brain development. A lack of iodine can cause tiredness, short term memory loss & depression. Ensuring that your teen has overall a well balanced diet coupled with iodine rich foods like seafoods can help to prevent these symptoms.
These 3 key nutrients play a key role in thyroid function, each are necessary for the health function of the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones. Low levels of 1 or 3 of these nutrients can lead to disrupted hormone function leading to anxiety, depression, poor concentration, mood swings, weight gain & fatigue.
Mental health as we know is crucial to overall health & well-being, and seeking support early, can help to prevent further issues down the road.
It’s important to remember that seeking help for mental health is a sign of strength and courage, and the right support and resources can make a world of difference. By taking a proactive approach to your teens’ mental health you can help them to build resilience & overcome challenges.