• By Deb Balzer

Mayo Clinic Minute: How to know if your teen needs mental health support

May 24, 2022

Teenagers are experiencing higher rates of mental health issues during the pandemic.

Dr. Marcie Billings, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician, says 1 in 5 youth will have a mental health issue in their teen years.

Here's what to watch for.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:57) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

The number of teens needing mental health support has increased.

"That includes things like depression, anxiety, and one of the ones that I think we were a bit surprised about would be eating disorders," says Dr. Billings.

She says the pandemic created a challenging and confusing world for many teens.

"That's their time to start to be independent and start to exert some control over their own lives," she says. "And that was taken away in a way that we had never experienced before."

If you are concerned about your teen, don't hesitate to seek help.

"Whether it be that you feel they're depressed, or anxious, or maybe suffering from an eating disorder, reaching out to your health care provider is the great first step," Dr. Billings says.

Here's what to watch for:

  • Changes in activity level.
  • More sleep.
  • Isolation.
  • Personality changes.
  • Eating habits.

"There are great ways that we can treat all mental health illnesses — depression, anxiety, eating disorders — but we must have that first step of connecting," Dr. Billing says.

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