Mental Health: Recognizing and Addressing Symptoms | By Abbey Wollschleger

As a licensed therapist, parents and guardians frequently ask me why mental health is important. Life can be tough and with the rise of social media our kids are faced with more challenges than ever before.

Today’s teens face many pressures such as school performance, family problems, peer expectations, bullying, and just dealing with what life throws at them.

All of these stressors can have a serious impact on your teen and teens aren’t always the best at articulating when they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. It is up to us as parents and caring adults to look for the signs and symptoms that a young person is struggling.

Some Signs and Symptoms:

  • Changes in behavior – i.e. showing up late, clumsiness, forgetfulness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Sudden loss of interest, enthusiasm, and motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Frequent illness – i.e. headaches or stomach aches

It can sometimes be hard to tell whether your teen is “just being a teenager” or if there is a more serious problem. You know your child best. Pay attention to how long the symptoms have been present, how severe they are, and how differently your teen is acting from his or her usual self. And when in doubt, ask for help! My job as a therapist is to help you sort out whether or not there is a more serious issue and work with you to come up with solutions to help your child deal with life stressors and symptoms.

Not waiting to address mental health symptoms and concerns will help your teens ability to:

  • Make good decisions
  • Develop and maintain healthy relationships
  • Better handle daily stressors and the ups and down of life
  • Discover who he or she is and reach his or her goals and full potential.

Addressing symptoms can also prevent your teen from developing a more serious mental health problem. If you believe your child might be struggling, Huckleberry House is here to help. Please contact 614-294-8097 and ask to speak to someone in our Family Support Program.

About the Author:

Abbey Wollschleger, LISW-S graduated with her Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University. She is currently the clinical supervisor of the Family Support Program and has over 8 years of experience providing therapy to underserved teens and families at Huckleberry House in Columbus, OH. Through active listening and education, she empowers clients to be more effective in their approaches to relationships, communication, life stressors, and problem-solving.

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