Behavioral Health Resources for Adolescents

Icon of a three people dancing Adolescence is an important time to establish beneficial behaviors that can be used later in life. Experiencing poor behavioral health may impact many aspects of an adolescent’s life. They may make poor or even dangerous decisions, struggle in school, or neglect to take care of themselves.

Fostering good behavioral health may help prevent adolescents from engaging in dangerous behavior, such as substance-use, violence, and sexual activity.

There are proven methods, available to you, to support and strengthen adolescents' behavioral health. Everyone has a role in fostering good mental health!

More information:

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Behavioral health issues, unlike emotions, have persistent symptoms that affect how one feels, thinks, and acts, and can interfere with regular activities and daily functioning such as relationships, schoolwork, sleeping and eating. Warning signs include:

  • Losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Having low energy
  • Having difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Spending more time alone and avoiding social activities
  • Excessively exercising, dieting, and/or binge eating
  • Harming themselves through burning, cutting, etc.
  • Using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
  • Engaging in risky or destructive behavior
  • Having thoughts of suicide
  • Thinking their mind is being controlled or out of control
  • Hearing things other people do not hear
  • Anxiety: feelings of excessive uneasiness, worry, and fear
  • Depression: sadness that affects thoughts, feelings, and daily activities
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity: continued inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity which disrupts daily functioning or development
  • Eating disorders: extreme and abnormal eating behaviors (e.g. restricted or excessive eating)

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Suicide cannot be attributed to one factor. However, influencing factors may include :

  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Painful losses
  • Being exposed to violence
  • Social isolation

The goals of suicide prevention include:

  • Reduce factors that increase the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Increase the factors that help strengthen, support, and protect individuals from suicide

What to do if someone is suicidal:

  • Call 911, if someone is in immediate danger
  • Call 800-273-8255 (SAMHSA National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
  • Ask if the person is thinking of committing suicide
  • Listen to that person compassionately without judgment
  • Stay with that person until that person receives help
  • Remove any objects that could be used to harm oneself 

More information: 

Parents and families may find the following resources helpful to support the behavioral and emotional well-being of their adolescents: