People are often surprised when they learn of the high prevalence of mental health issues. Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Fifty percent of lifetime mental health issues show their signs by age 14, making the teen years an important time to talk about mental health. May is Mental Health Month, and here are a few things to consider before you start talking,

One of the most important keys to supporting good mental health is openly and positively talking about it with your family. Mental health is health, but families are often afraid to talk about mental health. Yet, talking about mental health is one of the ways we can avoid mental health crises.

Create space for hard conversations and be willing to talk about feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and isolation. Let your teen know that all feelings are okay. Talking and listening to one another can ease feelings of isolation and create opportunities to address challenges positively and proactively before crisis happens.

Here are some engaging resources to support your family’s mental health conversations—this month and all year long.

  1. Well Beings/PBS Community Outreach Tour– a series of outstanding virtual panels on a variety of youth mental health topics. Watch with your teen and start a conversation!

  2. Child Mind Institute’s Dare to Share Campaign – hear from kids and adults talking about what they do to help their mental health.

As a family, you can also commit to keeping physically active, being in nature, getting enough sleep, and practicing mindfulness to support your mental health wellness. Additionally, keeping a journal can be an effective tool for calming your teen\’s mind and gives them time to slow down and process feelings.

While we know social media can be valuable for connecting and engaging, it’s important to track social media usage and its impact. Does it increase your anxiety or your teen\’s anxiety or does usage decrease it? Researchers are finding a link between frequent social media use and young mental health issues.

Sometimes social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can put more pressure on teenagers in regard to body image, status symbols, as well as online bullying that can occur on these platforms. Not all social media is negative, though! Here’s a great list of Instagram accounts to boost your mood that you can share with your family.

When you’re open to raising awareness and creating opportunities for proactive and positive conversations about mental health in your family, your teen knows that it’s okay to not be okay and that your home is a safe space to be vulnerable.

Here are some valuable mental health resources for both parents and teens to explore and share with others.

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