More and more people are finding themselves struggling with their mental health than ever before. One group that is particularly vulnerable to mental health problems is teenagers. Teenagers have to deal with new mental issues on top of their raging hormones and school stresses, which can make this time especially difficult for them. As their parent, it can be hard to know what to do to make them feel better, and some actions can cause more harm than good. To help you and your teenager during this dark time, it’s a good idea to take note of some trusted tips.

Talk about mental illness

In the past, mental health has been a taboo subject that families have avoided talking about. This means that if your teenager is starting to struggle, it can make it harder for them to ask for help when they need it. From an early age, it’s a good idea to talk about mental health openly. This means discussing when someone in the family has been in a bad place without judgment but also teaching your kids the best ways to look after their mental health. Doing this means they will be more likely to come to you when they need support.

Know the warning signs 

Sometimes, it can be difficult to notice when your teenager us exhibiting behavior outside the norm, as teenagers are typically more emotionally volatile in any case. However, there are some signs that you should watch out for. When your teenager starts to isolate themselves from family and friends, begin having extreme mood swings, and you see indications of eating disorders or self-harm, it’s a wise to step in and be there for them. In some cases, it’s important to refer your teenager to a medical professional who will be able to give them mechanisms for how they can cope, which can in turn help to prevent it from developing into something else.

Talk to them about substance abuse

One other sign of ill mental health is substance abuse, which can often start in teenage years. If you suspect your child is starting to abuse alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription painkillers, it’s best to contact helpful resources like Recovery Centers of America, so that you can ensure their emerging addiction doesn’t make their mental health even worse and have long-lasting effects on their life. Ideally, you should also talk about substance abuse in the same way you do mental health: without judgment; with total honesty, and in a way that doesn’t encourage it.

Don’t judge them

What usually prevents people from going to their parents when they are in a dark place is the fear of judgment. Although much of this judgment comes from stress and concern about what to do, it can push your teenager away. All their life, you should tell your children how your door is always open if they need to talk about anything that is plaguing them. Though you can’t promise to understand it, you can promise to be there for them every step of the way.