This the second article in a two part series on myths that people hold about teen mental illness. The first article included three common myths that many adults have about teens and psychological illness, which can lead to dangers. If adults are not assisting teens with their mental health, teens can be vulnerable to difficult symptoms, self-harm, and suicide.
Here are a few more myths about teen mental illness accompanied by the truth:
- There is nothing to be anxious or depressed about during adolescence.
Many adults will dismiss signs of mental illness believing that adolescence is simply not a time for someone to experience psychological problems. They might believe it to be sadness from a breakup, hormones, irritability, or rebelliousness. But many parents won’t consider the fact that a teen has an illness that needs professional attention.
For instance, a teen might appear to be doing okay, but as discussed in the previous article, they might be cutting, thinking about suicide, experience mania and stay up all night, have panic attacks, all without an adult knowing about them. And teens who feel like they need to perform and look good for their parents are going to keep all of this under the radar.
If a teen’s experience is dismissed as mere adolescence, they could be placed at risk for a worsening psychological illness.
- When teens have problems they are hanging out with the wrong crowd.
This is another way of dismissing a teen’s experience. Although cutting has been seen among teens as cool, it is still a dangerous experience for a teen to have and places them at risk for harm. In fact, if a teen is engaging in self harm, that is a significant sign that something is wrong. It doesn’t matter that they’ve learned cutting through their friends, what matters is that they’re doing it.
It’s important for parents to know that self-harm is serious and should be responded to in that way. Although cutting might be secretly discussed among a teen’s friends, it’s an experience that warrants the attention of a mental health provider.
- If a teen is struggling with symptoms of mental illness, it is probably the fault of the parents.
Although most people would like to believe that a loving, nurturing, and safe home is all that a teen needs, sometimes it’s not enough to prevent mental illness. Psychological illness also has genetic and social components. There are other factors that can contribute to a teen’s mental illness. And it has nothing to do with how loving or non-loving parents are.
Also, even when a parent is aware of a teen’s mental illness, they may simply not know what to do. They may not have the education or the resources to tend to a teen’s well being. Although they may be loving and kind parents, they might still face obstacles in getting their teen what they need to heal. Most parents do the best they can with the resources they have in order to make it easier for their teen.
This article and the first in this two part series presented a total of six myths regarding teen mental illness. These articles have also provided the truth behind these myths and how to best support a teen who appears to be struggling with a psychological illness.