One in eight people aged under 19 in England have a mental health disorder and approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life in the US.
These shocking statistics are likely to increase over time if mental health issues for adolescents are not addressed.
Some interesting research indicated potential causes and links, all of which can be addressed in family therapy, or teen therapy. This makes it even more important for parents to be on the look out for signs of distress in their teens and seek mental health services, family therapy or teen therapy when concerned.
FAMILY DYNAMICS AND THE NEED FOR FAMILY THERAPY.
Nearly one quarter (24%) of people aged five to nineteen who have a mental disorder were in a family that has been struggling to function well. This indicates a strong systemic influence in depression and anxiety, which a family systems therapist is trained to help with.
In addition to this, 28% of youth reported to have a parent who struggling with mental health problems too. Family dynamics are a key component to mental health, and we often see that one person's functioning can significantly impact other individuals in the unit.
SOCIAL ISOLATION AND TEEN GROUP THERAPY.
Youth who were socially isolated, those who had low levels of social support or those who did not take part in clubs or organizations in or out of school were all
"associated with the presence of mental disorder”.
The overall national loneliness score was alarmingly high in the younger youth brackets, scoring 44 on a 20-to-80 scale in the US, which was statistically higher than the average score. The prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern.
In another study from the UK, four-out-of-five adolescents report feelings of loneliness at some time, and almost a third describe these feelings as 'persistent and painful'.
Group therapy is an ideal way for teens to connect intimately and vulnerably with peers, as well as to learn the skills needed to connect socially outside of therapy.
Although young people aged between 11 and 19 were found to spend more time on social media, one in five in the same age group said they had been cyber-bullied in the last year.
However, young people with the highest rates of social media use reported very similar feelings of loneliness to those who barely use it which is an interesting find.
Those who reported having some form of disorder were much more likely to compare themselves with others on social media and to say that “likes, comments and shares impact my mood”.
Half of all girls with a mental health disorder say they compare themselves to others on social media sites.
LGBTQ AND LGBT AFFIRMATIVE THERAPY
Young people aged 14-19 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or with another sexual identity are more likely to have a mental health disorder than those who identify as heterosexual.
According to the HRC national survey, 42% of LGBTQ youth report not feeling safe or accepted where they live, and a staggering 92% of youth report hearing negative things about being LGBTQ identified.
LGBTQ Therapists are specifically trained to be supportive for those questioning their identity. Teen LGBTQ therapists have even more specialized experience and could offer more impactful help if your child is looking at their sexuality.
TEEN THERAPY / FAMILY THERAPY
If you're concerned about your teen and teen therapy or curious about family therapy, please contact me at
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles / West Hollywood, close to Beverly Hills. I also provide couples therapy and parent coaching to support families going through difficult times, as well as being an individual therapist for teens, and in particular, LGBTQ teen therapist for LGBTQ adolescents.
Links for more reading:
Any Disorder Among Children. (n.d.) Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml
Houghton, S., and others. (2016) It Hurts to be Lonely! Loneliness and Positive Mental Wellbeing in Australian
Rural and Urban Adolescents. Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools. 26: 52-67.