Adolescent Mental Health

Adolescence can be a developmental period fraught with major challenges and stresses in the areas of friendships, bullying, personal identity, family relationships, independence, sexuality, romantic relationships, social media (and other online activity), body image, substance experimentation and more. Some symptoms of mental health conditions may surface during the late childhood/early teen years and it can be tremendously helpful to be able to access early intervention assistance in order to reduce the risk of symptoms developing into a mental health condition. Seeing an early intervention psychologist can help your child or young person get a handle on their emotional lives and teach them the necessary emotional regulation skills to deal with the many issues confronting them. There are a number of therapeutic interventions that are very useful for adolescents, including DBT, mindfulness training, CBT and even Schema Therapy sometimes. Of course, any good intervention includes the parents and sometimes other family members, so that they too can improve and fine tune their skills in communication and emotion coaching, limit setting and fostering the relationship.

 

 

Dealing with HSC Stress

It is normal for students sitting the HSC to experience trial and exam stress and performance anxiety. Most students feel some degree of worry and anxiety and this often manifests as physicial stress symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems, appetite disturbance. The world of the teen often becomes very small at this time and it’s easy for them to catastrophise. Rumination, worry, stress, anxiety and sometimes a decline in mood, are all common experiences for a teen who is struggling to stay afloat during this stressful and demanding time.
Mood changes, with increases in irritability and hyper-sensitivity to criticism are often observed by parents who are also finding it difficult to know how to best assist and support their adolescent child.

Proven Psychological Interventions can help:

  • Mindfulness training including mindfulness to emotions is a great way to calm down an anxious amygdala.
  • Targeted, applied relaxation approaches such as PMR and corrective breathing can greatly help soothe the stress response and boost the relaxation response (ie, the para-sympathetic branch of the ANS).
  • Cognitive challenging can help teens keep their fears and worries in perspective.
  • DBT strategies and tools can assist in helping teens tolerate difficult emotions and problem solve more effectively.
  • Various behavioural strategies can help with low mood and boost energy and motivation.

All our psychologists have training and experience assisting teens navigate through stressful times. In our experience, even a few sessions can provide the help and perspective needed to get through the difficult period leading up to the HSC. We welcome all queries and look forward to helping any young person is is in need of psychological support at this time.