Talking with teens about mental health

Drawing of two figures and a large head with puzzle pieces
A November 2020 New York Times article* spoke about how “remote learning, lockdowns and pandemic uncertainty have increased anxiety and depression among adolescents, and heightened concerns about their mental health.” And there are plenty more recent studies and articles on this subject. As caregivers, we must listen to our teenagers and reach out if we see concerning signs. Here are some resources to help:

Mental Health America (MHA): Talking To Adolescents And Teens

MHA is a community-based nonprofit “dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all.” They have a series for caregivers of teens that starts with noticing symptoms, starting a conversation, and figuring out what to do and where to go. And they have a “Parent Test” you can take to help determine if your child is having emotional, attentional, or behavioral difficulties.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

This training is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers and more how to help a teen who is experiencing a mental health crisis. Many staff at the library have taken this course and we highly recommend it and you can take it for free through Get Trained To Help. Beyond the course, the Mental Health First Aid folx have lots of good information on their website including 5 Tips for Talking to Your Teenager About Mental Health and 5 Signs Your Teen May Be Asking for Help

Signs of Depression During the Pandemic

From the Child Mind Institute, an article listing signs of depression to look out for in your child and ways to help them feel comfortable sharing their feelings. Their articles are available in Spanish as well. 

YouthLine

A teen-to-teen youth crisis and support service provided by Lines for Life. YouthLine operates a national helpline that provides support and referrals via call, text, and chat. It is answered by teen volunteers daily from 4pm-10pm PST (and by adults at all other times, 24-hours a day!). 

Cascadia Behavioral Health Care 

Cascadia is the largest “community-based behavioral health and substance use treatment services organization in the state of Oregon” and they operate a Crisis Line in Multnomah County 24/7 (503-988-4888). Check out their Crisis Intervention page for more information. 

Multnomah County EASA (Early Assessment and Support Alliance) program   

EASA is a program that was created to help young people who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis. Research shows that getting help as early as possible makes treatment easier and recovery quicker.

Multnomah County Library: Teens

We have written a few other blog posts that might be helpful:

And of course we have books! Please see our book lists below. 

This article is part of our "Talking with kids" series, and was featured in our monthly Family Newsletter, brought to you by Home Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

*If you do not subscribe to the New York Times you can get full access to their articles through the library’s databases. Contact us for more information.

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