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Feature Article Nurturing Mental Health As Teens Head Back to School

Back-to-school time can be stressful on teens.

The stakes are high for high school students returning to school.  They are managing complex family and social lives with a growing reliance on social media forums, a variety of competitive activities such as sports, theater and band, and likely not quite enough sleep.  It can be challenging for teens to thrive physically and psychologically in the midst of it all.

Mental Health America shares these messages to help families and communities address teen mental health:

• Sometimes it’s tough to talk about mental health, but the conversation is too important not to have.
• We need to treat mental health just like we do physical health, by giving it thought and attention and, when needed, professional help.
• If there is concern that a young person may be experiencing a mental health problem, it is important for adults to seek appropriate professional help.
• Promoting mental health means helping teens feel secure, relate well with others and foster their growth at home and at school. Parents and caregivers are pivotal in this support.
• Taking good care of your body and mind can make a difference in how well you do in school, how well you manage change, your productivity and overall health. Good mental health strengthens your ability to cope with everyday problems, and tackle the more serious ones.
• Half of all mental health disorders begin by the age of 14. About 75 percent begin by the age of 24. Early identification and early intervention in children and young adults is essential to their current and future mental wellbeing.
• When someone just doesn’t “feel right” and aren’t sure why, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms and seek help.
• Screening tools are available at for parents and youth to learn the signs and find out if a young person may have symptoms of a behavioral, emotional or cognitive disorder. If screening results indicate, seek professional help.
• Young people should find someone they trust and start a conversation. Parents, be ready to listen and let them know you understand.

Mental Health America has developed tools and resources for students and parents about why youth mental health matters, what parents need to know and how to best support our teens. Visit for information, assessments and more.

Here in the mid-Willamette Valley, parents and teens are also invited to join providers from Samaritan Mental Health Family Center to learn about mental health resources in our community – from hotlines, text lines, websites and books, to individual counseling and groups.

Call 1-855-873-0647 or visit for more information and to register for any one of the following free seminars:

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 6 p.m., with Caroline Fisher, MD, Samaritan Albany General Hospital

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m., with Tim Blumer, DO, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6 p.m., with Kiri Horsey, LPC, Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital