Adolescence is a time of significant life transitions, physical changes, emotional and intellectual demands as well as the added pressures of being a modern-day teenager, e.g. pressures of social media looming large in the teenage consciousness. As well as the physical development that occurs during this time, adolescents are also developing emotionally and intellectually, as they seek their independence and individual identity. The changes that occur during this time can manifest in behaviours that can be challenging and hard to understand, leaving parents feeling unsure as to what is part and parcel of typical adolescent behaviour and what may cause more concern. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference.
At other times, parents can be faced with signs that their adolescents may be experiencing more significant difficulties, such as depression. These difficulties can present differently in adolescents than they do in adults, so understanding what your son or daughter is experiencing and seeking the necessary support early on is very important.
If you are concerned about your child, Aware recommends that you and your child speak to a GP or a mental health professional for a correct diagnosis and to decide which approach to treatment is best for him or her.
Jigsaw is a national organisation aimed at providing guidance and support for young people who are going through a difficult or distressing time. They also provide advice and guidance for anyone who is concerned about a young person in their life. To understand how depression and other mental health issues can manifest in adolescence, click here for more information from Jigsaw.
Aware offers support services for adults aged 18 and over, including adults who may be supporting a child with a mood related condition and are looking for understanding, information or signposting. Aware also provides a range of education services to include positive mental health programmes which are delivered to adults and senior cycle students at secondary schools nationwide.
For further information about the mental health of a young person go to www.jigsaw.ie.