Mental health issues do not discriminate, and they can affect men and women of all ages, races, social and financial statuses, educational backgrounds, income levels and more.
Teens are no exception, and up to 50 percent of teenagers develop some sort of mental health condition or disorder before they graduate high school. For many of them, these issues will continue to disrupt the individual’s life for years, lasting through their twenties and sometimes even into their thirties if left untreated.
There are different factors that can impact a person’s mental health, and stigmas around mental health are among some of the most influential and potentially harmful factors out there. Stigmas can exacerbate the symptoms of a mental health condition, trigger the development of harmful coping behaviors, as well as negatively impact the other areas of the individual’s life.
In this article, we’re going to highlight the most common stigmas around mental health that pertain mostly (sometimes even solely) to teenagers so you and your teen can properly navigate their mental health issues.
Mental health issues in teens
It’s easy to write off a teenager’s seemingly ever-present negative attitude as the result of them just “being a teenager,” but sometimes there’s a deeper issue at hand.
Mental health conditions can affect people of all ages but are most commonly dismissed within the teenage demographic due to how normalized extreme symptoms are during this age.
A teenager who seems to always be sleepy or exhausted is often called lazy, instead of considering that a mental health condition could be what’s mostly draining their energy. A teenager who seems perpetually angry or irritable is simply avoided and written off as having the standard teenage “bad attitude,” rather than considering they could be lashing out from a trauma they were never given the resources to process and heal from.
There are many different factors that influence a teen’s mental health and many different sources from which mental health conditions or disorders are developed.
One of the most influential of these factors is that of stigma.
What are mental health stigmas?
A stigma is a negative label, disapproval or judgmental mindset specifically directed towards those who are exhibiting a particular behavior, condition or characteristic. A stigma can manifest as negative attitudes, beliefs, stereotypes and discrimination, in personal, social and professional environments.
Mental health stigmas are stigmas that specifically affect those who are struggling with a mental health condition, illness or disorder. Despite all of the societal and medical progress we’ve made in recent decades with working to normalize mental health struggles and treatments, we still all have a role to play in minimizing the stigma around mental health.
Stigmas around mental health
At the core of most stigmas is the recognition that someone is different from you, and then adopting the mentality that being different is negative or wrong in some way. This recognition can lead to feelings of fear or defensiveness, as well as promote discrimination and stigma.
Because stigmas can take so many different forms, and affect people in such different ways and to various degrees of severity, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some mental health stigma examples. You might be surprised at what can contribute to a person’s mental health issues.
In addition to stereotyping, the most common stigmas around mental health include:
- The dismissal or invalidation of mental health issues and struggles
- Perpetuating the belief that “teens have nothing to be depressed about”
- Social media (non-expert discussions that can spread misinformation and stigma)
- The implication is that you can simply “get over” or “pray away” mental illness
- The belief that teens are only exhibiting symptoms to seek attention
- Lack of empathy or support around seeking or receiving professional help
- Cultural or religious perspectives that shame mental health or make it taboo
If you think your child might be suffering from an undiagnosed mental health condition or disorder, you can reach out to us to learn more about how to properly take the next steps.
Speak with an advisor today
Here at High Focus Centers, we specialize in providing outpatient mental health and substance use treatment to adults and adolescents in need. Helping you live your fullest life is our mission.
We know that reaching out for professional help can be a big step that doesn’t always feel easy, but we’re here to support you every step of the way. Recognizing that every teen is unique in and of themselves with their own strengths, weaknesses, needs and goals, we work closely with them and you from day one so as to tailor the best-fitted treatment plan for them.
Send us a message or give us a call today to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs and how we can help support your teen and your family through this healing journey.