teen mental health


by Tracy Smith

We all know the teen years can be tough – so many emotions, hormones and pressures swirling around while we try to figure out our direction in the world.  Who wouldn’t get overwhelmed and feel down at times?

I just hope that if my kids are feeling upset and isolated that:

  • I am tuned in enough to pick up on it so I can help,
  • they are surrounded by good friends that are positive influences, and
  • they are confident enough to ask for help from the right people if they need it.

Too much to ask?  The teen years have not hit my household yet, but when I listen to the radio and hear some of the lyrics that get broadcast out to millions of teenagers across the globe every day, I am shocked by some of the advice and messages that are being downloaded and shared by the millions.

Is your teen sad? The music they listen to may send the wrong message.

On the depressed and feeling low theme… a new song titled ‘Cold Water’ featuring Justin Bieber opens with the lyrics:

“Everybody gets high sometimes, you know.”

Eeek! No, actually they don’t. In fact, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that only 16.8% of Canadians (ages 15-64) smoked marijuana … that leaves 84%!! of Canadians who don’t. The way musical artists rant out their lyrics, they would have us believe the majority of people are smoking pot or popping some sort of pill every weekend.

The song goes on to say:

“What else can we do when we’re feeling low?”

Actually, I can think of a lot of better things to do than “getting high” when you’re feeling down. How do musicians sleep at night knowing the influence and platform they have and the horrible advice and information they peddle.

Is Your Teen Sad? Things they can do when they’re feeling low

The website kidshealth.org recommends some of the following tips for teens that are feeling depressed or in a bad mood:

  • Exercise for 15-30 minutes with an elevated heart rate
  • Eat healthy – stay away from the junk food
  • Get enough sleep
  • Limit your screen time and spend face-to-face time with people or pets
  • Be creative – draw, create, write, dance, doodle
  • Cry – it’s okay and sometimes it makes you feel a lot better
  • Talk and spend time with a friend
  • If the sad and depressed feelings persist, talk to someone you trust – a parent, guidance teacher, close relative, coach – about getting some additional help from a counsellor.

I know as parents, we can’t control everything our kids are exposed to or ensure that they are always happy and thriving, but stay engaged, keep the lines of communication open and don’t forget to show them you love them – even when they are sad and pushing you away.

CMHA STATS: http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/#.V-q1FGVln-Y


Ever since receiving her red plastic writing folder in Mrs. Heaton’s grade three class, Tracy Smith has loved writing and telling stories. As a professional writer and communications strategist with more than 50 published articles under her belt, Tracy’s work has appeared in national and local publications, newspapers and magazines … and now proudly on amotherworld. To learn more visit bytracysmith.com



Is Your Teen Sad? Music They Listen To May Send Wrong Message