Mental illness is hypernym that encompasses distinct diagnosable mental health ailments, disorders, diseases, and conditions, that involve changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior (or a combination of these). The Mayo Clinic explains that mental health disorders in children are “generally defined 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.” Mental illness is highly common among teenagers in the United States. Data presented from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that an estimated 49.5% of adolescents aged 13-18 in America had AMI (any mental illness). Of the nearly fifty percent of adolescents with AMI, approximately 22.2% had severe impairment. Every teenager is different and will benefit most from a customized mental health treatment plan that is reflective of his or her distinct needs.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), “refers to a variety of treatments that aim to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.” It serves as a fundamental component of teen mental health treatment, as it provides the necessary tools, insights, and strategies for teenagers to enhance their well-being, develop resilience, and navigate life’s challenges more effectively. There are many different forms of psychotherapy that may be integrated into one’s mental health treatment plan, such as:
- Applied behavioral analysis (ABA): utilizes positive reinforcement to teach and promote social skills, communication abilities, learning and academic skills, and self-care habits.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): utilizes four main strategies (e.g., core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation) for teaching young people skills that help with effectively changing their behaviors.
- Expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process, and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts, and emotional associations.
- Group therapy: participating in group therapy sessions can help a teenager learn from peers that are navigating thoughts and emotions facing similar challenges.
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT): focuses on how a young person’s communications and interactions with other people affect his or her own mental health.
- Motivational interviewing (MI): is a counseling method that helps young people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behavior.
It is highly common for teen mental health treatment plans to include an amalgamation of treatment approaches. The wide array of psychotherapeutic options provides a mental health clinician with the ability to develop a tailored treatment plan that incorporates the best possible therapeutic modalities, expressly geared to each teenager’s personal needs.
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.
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