Newborn, Senior, and Family
Portrait Photographer
in New Market, Maryland

Newborn, Senior, and Family Portrait Photographer in New Market, Maryland

Understanding Teen Mental Health


Navigating the complexities of adolescent mental health can be daunting for parents. With the myriad of challenges and pressures facing teens today, it is so important for parents to understand the signs of mental health issues and how to support their teens effectively. In this blog post about understanding teen mental health, I hope to provide parents with some insights, resources, and strategies that will promote positive mental health for your teens.

Positive Mental Health Strategies for Teenagers

Understand Teen Mental Health

Before diving into specific strategies, it’s important that you have a basic understanding of teen mental health. As we all know, the adolescent years are a time of rapid physical, emotional, and cognitive development, making teens particularly vulnerable to mental health challenges. While never hoped for, some common issues that teenagers may battle include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. The good news is that by recognizing the signs and symptoms of these things, you can hopefully intervene early to provide the necessary support for their teens.

Create a Supportive Environment

One of the most important ways to promote teen mental health is by making sure the environment of your home is supportive and nurturing. You can do this by making sure you are a safe place for your teen to openly communicate. This is done by actively listening to your teens and validating their feelings without judgment. Do your best to maintain a positive and supportive relationship with your teenager, building trust and mutual respect over time. Often times, when we are afraid, we can become controlling, critical, or angry. Many parents find the challenges their teenagers are facing to be scary and they want to control the situation to keep their children safe. Do your best to keep your fear under control and not let it get in the way of a healthy relationship with your teen.

Downtown Frederick photo session with senior girl.

Encourage Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Teenagers face stressors and pressures from all sides – academic, social, familial, personal, etc. Healthy coping mechanisms can help them manage these stressors and the emotions that come with them. This can include regular physical activity, time outside in the fresh air and sunshine, deep breathing or meditation, maintaining a balanced diet, journaling, getting enough sleep, or getting counseling. And sometimes your teen might just need time with someone who loves them, so don’t underestimate the power of shooting some hoops or getting ice cream with your teenager. If you are local to Frederick County in Maryland, you may also consider bulking up your teen’s support system by applying for them to be members of the On the Mark/ Adolescent Clubhouse.

Educate Your Teen About Mental Health

Many teenagers may lack knowledge about mental health issues or feel ashamed or too embarrassed to get help. You can make things easier by destigmatizing mental illness and keeping the topic casual instead of making mental health seem like something intimidating or shameful. Having open and honest conversations about mental health with your teenager, and listening to their questions or concerns can go a long way. You can also lead by example by prioritizing your own mental health, demonstrating healthy coping mechanisms, and talking to your teen about some of the things you are doing to promote mental health for yourself.

Recognize Warning Signs

While every parent hopes their teen doesn’t struggle with mental health, don’t let your guard down and just assume everything is okay. Be vigilant in looking out for warning signs, and check up on your teen in a disarming but genuine way. Look out for signs like changes in behavior, mood, sleep patterns, appetite, academic performance, or social interactions. Sometimes symptoms are physical, so pay attention if your teen has frequent headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue. Just be careful not to read into everything and become paranoid, because that can quickly breed tension between teens and parents. 

Seek Professional Help

If you are concerned about your teens’ mental health, the next step may be getting professional help. This may include a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist who specializes in working with teenagers. These professionals can make a comprehensive assessment, give a diagnosis if necessary, and come up with a treatment plan tailored to your teen’s specific needs. Treatment may involve therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, or other interventions. Whatever the case, be sure to reassure your teenager that these measures are just like going to a doctor for something off in your body, and that there’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.

Senior Portraits and Self Esteem

One of the reasons I post about teenagers is because, as a photographer in New Market, Maryland, I frequently have the joy of working with them in my family and portrait sessions. As a photographer, I care deeply about the families I photograph, and I don’t compartmentalize to only care about how they look in their photos. I desire for each of my families to thrive, and that includes teenagers and their mental health. Senior portraits can have a positive impact on teens in several meaningful ways. Having a senior portrait session not only boosts self-esteem and celebrates achievements, but also encourages self-expression. While being the center of attention may feel awkward for some teens, it often makes them feel special, particularly when they’re dressed in new outfits and/or styled with professional hair and makeup.

I’d love to have a chat about your senior’s portraits and see if we’re a good fit for each other. Send me a message, and I’ll be in touch!

Senior photographer taking photos of a senior boy in Downtown Frederick, MD.

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