Coming this Summer! Adolescent Mental Health: Parenting to Wellness

Adolescent Mental Health: Parenting to Wellness is a supplemental parent-education module and is part of the Thrive Initiative. Like all Thrive supplemental modules, Adolescent Mental Health: Parenting to Wellness is designed to serve as a complementary learning opportunity for parents and caregivers who have previously completed a universal parent-education program (i.e., Take Root, Sprout, Grow, and/or Branch Out).

Achieving and maintaining good mental health are as important as achieving and maintaining good physical health. Adolescent Mental Health: Parenting to Wellness offers support to parents and caregivers of adolescents who experience mental health challenges. The purposes of this supplemental module are to address specific concerns parents or caregivers might have about a child who is experiencing mental health challenges and to offer information and parenting strategies. Parents and caregivers will learn about various mental health conditions, available treatments, and strategies that could be used to support their child.

Seeking mental health support can be an important element as you help your child return to wellness. There are different approaches to mental health treatment that may be used.

Some of these treatment therapies include the following:

  • Behavior therapies: These therapies are used to identify if problematic behavior is being triggered or reinforced by something in the child’s environment.
  • Cognitive therapies: These therapies are based on the understanding that our emotions are often influenced by our thoughts of which we may or may not be aware.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT): CBT uses both therapies mentioned above and teaches strategies for dealing with unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that are associated with mental health disorders.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): In using DBT, therapists intend to promote current acceptance (e.g., of the current situation, of one’s own problems) and future change (e.g., of behaviors that are being used to deal with one’s problems but that are maladaptive or creating larger problems).
  • Family Therapy: This therapy refers to a range of treatments in which a therapist works with the entire family.
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): These therapies are designed to help improve one’s mental health by examining their relationships and interpersonal skills.

For parents and caregivers, consistently using skills, like actively listening, maintaining clear expectations, and establishing consequences, is critical when their adolescent is struggling with mental health concerns. These strategies are initially discussed in the age-appropriate universal Thrive program (i.e., Branch Out), but they are also reinforced in this supplemental module and presented in and tailored for specific scenarios. Mental health concerns can be stressful for parents and their children to experience so remember to communicate your love and support to your child at all times but especially when they are struggling.

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