People of all ages can benefit from help to manage their mental health and improve their lives. Youth counselling has become more normalized along with the progression of mental health research and since the global pandemic that drew families indoors.
Teenagers often experience a particularly tumultuous period in their life for a number of reasons; they’re flooded with hormones as they experience puberty and grow older, they deal with a range of issues related to growing up and finding their place in the world, including problems with family, friends, school, body image, and more. Youth counselling is a way for teens and adolescents to feel supported as they learn to build the skills that they need to manage their feelings and develop healthy behaviours that will serve as a foundation throughout life.
Youth counselling may help teenagers with specific health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse issues. It might also help them to process and learn to cope with various issues happening in their life or work through identity crises. According to psychologist, Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development, people aged 12-18 years old are enduring a crisis of identity and role confusion. In other words, from a developmental perspective, teens are exploring, experimenting, and figuring out who they are and how they fit into this world. Youth counselling can help support this growth and allow teens the safety and security of exploring these parts of themselves without judgment, so that they may prosper and grow.
With that being said, teens don’t necessarily need a specific reason for seeing a therapist. Anyone can benefit from having a neutral party with whom they can discuss their life and any problems they’re having.
Therapy for Teenagers
One thing to keep in mind is that, while teenagers can benefit from therapy, it’s important to treat them as teenagers and not adults. Teenagers can respond very well to therapy, but therapists need to be trained in working with teens to ensure they are responsive and get the best results. Teens are still developing their emotional maturity and developing in other ways. In fact, the human brain doesn’t reach full development until around the mid-to-late 20s. That means that therapy with teens requires a different approach compared to therapy with adults.
One of the difficulties of youth counselling for teenagers is that many of them don’t actually want to be there. While there are some teens who desire therapy and are receptive to it, many of them are only attending because they are required to by parents, school officials, doctors, or others. This can be a tough obstacle to overcome, which is why the right therapist is important.
Children and Mental Health
Children and teenagers deal with a range of problems that affect their mental health. Almost 10% of 3-17-year-olds have ADHD, 9.4% have anxiety, 4.4% have depression and almost 9% have behavior problems. Diagnosis of depression and anxiety in children has increased over time, and substance abuse and suicide are especially important issues for adolescents. Most children with depression receive treatment (nearly 8 in 10) although treatment rates are lower for those with other mental health problems.
Although some mental health problems in children and teens may be treated with medication, non-medication treatments are important too. Medication isn’t always necessary and talking therapies are also useful in addition to medication. Therapy gives teens a chance to talk about their feelings with someone who takes them seriously and learn how to improve their relationship with their thoughts and feelings.
Many teenagers can benefit from youth counselling, whether they have a diagnosed mental health condition or they are dealing with various problems in their life.