Mental Awareness Month

May 14, 2019

May is Mental Awareness Month. Let’s talk about teen mental awareness. Teens are halfway between children and adults – they’re still finding themselves and learning to live in their own skin. As a result, it’s common for teens to exhibit unusual behavior such as lashing out, isolating, or making risky decisions. But when does normal teen behavior cross the line into teenage mental health issue? It’s not always easy to tell. Mental illness in adolescence is remarkably common because it is often when symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other conditions first emerge. That’s why it’s important for parents, family members, and loved ones to understand the signs and symptoms of teen depression and mental illness in teens.

Instead of explaining what qualifies as healthy behavior, it may be easier to explain which behaviors indicate teenage mental health issues. If your teen’s behavior wades into the symptoms below, talk to them about what they’re going through or find a trusted adult to take on the task.

*Missing days in school or poor school performance
*Avoids friends or forming a social life           
*No motivation for fun or interesting activities           
*Sleep disturbances including insomnia and nightmares           
*Can’t sit still or focus on a task           
*Seems chronically anxious or worried           
*Lack of energy or oversleeping           
*Bounces between moods of no-energy and hyperactivity
*Self-harm including cutting, picking, burning, biting, or hair-pulling
*Suicidal thoughts or actions           
*Constantly irritable or always reacts in an unreasonable manner           
*Manic and risky behavior such as car races, unsafe sex practices, or dangerous thrill-seeking activities

For more information on teenage mental health, please visit Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute online at