Skip to main content

The Mayo Clinic define mental health disorders in adolescents as “delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills or regulation of emotions. These problems are distressing to children and disrupt their ability to function well at home, in school or in other social situations.” Although mental illness can develop at any age, studies have shown that it is not uncommon for dormant mental illnesses to surface and/ or for new mental health conditions to emerge during one’s adolescence and into one’s young adulthood. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) asserts that in the United States “at least one in five youth aged 9-17 years currently has a diagnosable mental health disorder that causes some degree of impairment; one in ten has a disorder that causes significant impairment.” Every young person is unique, and each may present with a distinct combination of symptoms, often in direct relation to age, biological makeup, and type of mental health disorder, as well as benefit most from an individualized mental health treatment plan.

Peer Support

Teen friendships are integral to a young person’s social and emotional growth and development. Further, it is developmentally appropriate for adolescents to be more receptive to feedback from peers rather than adults. Therefore, regardless of the nuances of each teenager’s mental health treatment plan, it is common practice to include some element of peer connectedness (e.g., participating in group therapy, attending relevant support group meetings, etc.) to promote and help establish a robust network of support. Peer support is important because it can help young people:

  • Learn about themselves and the impact their behaviors have on others.
  • Increase their capacity for self-expression and emotional assertiveness.
  • Cultivate supportive emotional bonds and sense of comradery, reinforcing one’s sense of acceptance and belonging.
  • Come to realize that they have skills and experience that may be helpful to their peers, and through helping others one’s own self-worth and self-esteem is enhanced.
  • Practice implementing behavior modification strategies, the integration of healthy choices, and improving positive decision-making with emotionally safe and supportive individuals.

A teenager in mental health treatment can glean an array of benefits from having the support of his or her peers. Research has long shown the advantages of social connection for individual well-being. Experts suggest that not only do friends resemble each other superficially, but in the very structures of their brains. Teenage peer support creates an emotional safety net that can uplift an adolescent throughout his or her mental health recovery journey, which can be invaluable to one’s long-term prognosis.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


Close Menu
Back to top