Help: My Teen is Struggling with their Mental Health and Addiction

Help: My Teen is Struggling with their Mental Health and Addiction

As you navigate helping your teen struggling with mental health and/or addiction, you may be wondering what your role is in your child’s healing and growth process and wrestling with how to support them best. Whether they are dealing with the everyday drama of teenage life, or are struggling with addiction or other mental health concerns, they need you all the same. Finding resources for them and empowering yourself with a fresh mindset will have an incomparable, lasting impact on them. 

Recognize they need help (and so do you)

When learning to recognize how your teen needs help, remember that they are not alone in this. Every human being needs help. We all need and deserve compassion, love and people who appreciate us and help us feel valued. 

We need each other to help meet these vital needs. Although your struggling teen may not admit it freely, they need your help.

It is not a failure on you or your teen that your relationship or the problems they’re facing require some outside support. It is incredibly courageous and brave to attempt to work through the depression and anxiety symptoms that they face. When the problem you’re facing as a family is an addiction to alcohol or other drugs, take comfort that getting connected with a quality treatment program helps many people find their way out to the other side of recovery a more fulfilled and emotionally in-tune person. 

To recognize specific ways that your teen is struggling:

  1. Train yourself to harness the power of observation. The following key areas will likely change when your teen is struggling: personality, activity levels, as well as eating, sleeping, and social habits.
  2. Observe these areas in your teen’s life and make a note of anything that seems irregular.
  3. Use open-ended questions (what, how, when, tell me more about) to ask your teen about your observations.


You seem tired lately. How have you been sleeping?

You don’t seem like yourself today; what’s on your mind?

I noticed you didn’t want to hang out with your friends tonight. How are things going with….?” 

Or “How are you feeling?”

Ownership of Change

To further help your teen, turn the power of observation inward. Perhaps you are already aware of the areas that your teen is struggling. The next step to helping your teen is taking ownership of your responsibility for change. 

Your teen is not alone in their difficulty. Many times, teens cite family-related issues as reasons underlying reasons why they struggle with addiction or have other behavioral concerns. Especially when your relationship is strained, it is unrealistic to expect that the burden of change rests entirely on their shoulders. 

The easiest way to create change in your teens is to change how you interact with them, beginning with how you think about (and speak about) the problems they’re facing. It’s often easier to believe that there is something wrong with them than to recognize that you too have a role to play, and there are different ways to approach them as their parent. 

One of the best ways to help your teen is to set a personal example of change. Take responsibility for the ways you can improve personally and as a parent, and work to stay consistent in your expectations for yourself and your teen.

You can help your struggling teen. Your interactions with them and the expectations you hold are your responsibility as a parent. Take ownership of your role and the many ways that you can help your teen.

Help Your Teen Overcome Their Struggles with Promises Behavioral Health

Being the parent of a struggling teen is never easy. It’s not easy to know the right decision to make or what to do to help the situation rather than hurt. Promises Behavioral Health has programs where, no matter the age of your son or daughter, you can find your child the help they need, and you can get the support you need.  Reach out to us today to get connected with our recently expanded adolescent addiction treatment program at The Right Step in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

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