When you think of health, do you think of emotional and mental health too?
Keeping up with your mental health is just as important as your physical health. As a teen, you’ve got a lot of changes going on as you take more and more responsibility for yourself and for your care. When something isn’t right with your mental/emotional health you’ve got to take action – just like when you’re feeling sick.
Believe it or not, taking care of your emotions is a lot like taking care of your body. Both your body and your mind need you to sleep, exercise, and eat right.
The most important thing about keeping up with your emotions is being aware of them. That means being aware of when you’re feeling stressed out or anxious or sad. Are you aware when you’re stressed or down in the dumps? If you’re always aware of how you feel, you’ll know when it’s time to reach out for help.
One thing to remember is: don't go it alone. If things seem to be overwhelming, talk with a trusted adult (parent, school counselor, teacher, nurse, doctor); or talk to a friend. Don’t brush off your feelings; pay attention to them!
Another thing to note is that stress, sadness, and anxiety are a normal part of growing up. In fact, sometimes stress comes from “good” situations. Getting ready for a dance is a fun thing; but making sure that you’ve got a nice dress/suite, arranging for transportation, and getting a date can all add up to a lot of stress.
The big take away point is to pay attention when you are stressed past your limits. Everyone has a bad or blue day once in a while, but that shouldn't be every day. Reach out to someone who can help if the blues don't pass or if you feel you just can’t take it anymore. There is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you don't know where to turn! The Lifeline is available 24/7 at (800) 273-8255.
Check out the mental health resource links located in the sidebar. TeensHealth.org Stress & Coping Center has lots of advice and tips from real experts.
Youth with Special Health Care Needs
Moods and Stress
Why think about habits
TAKE CHARGE YHT ACTIVITIES
A teen transition workbook with great info on health and nutrition from the National Institutes of Health.
Excellent transition workbook from the Waisman Center in Wisconsin. Covers a wide range of YHT topics including healthy lifestyle habits, how to plan for an appointment, adulthood/age 18, advocacy, and oral health.
Honest and private info and advice on emotions and coping with stress. TEENHEALTH.org is sponsored by the Nemours Foundation and is doctor approved.
Answers to students' frequently asked questions about depression from the National Institute of Mental Health.
A Teen's Personal Guide for Managing Stress
A teen's how-to stress management guide for teens. An easy to use tool from adolescent medicine specialist Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg.
A health info website for girls ages 10-16. Info on health and well-being from real experts. Created by the Office of Women's Health, US Department of Health and Human Services.
Targeted at young teens - animated characters and games - but all around good info on nutrition, health and safety. An interactive website developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (aka the CDC).
Eat right, move more, feel great. A great toolkit for getting up to speed on eating right and being active from the Office of Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Transition Health Care Information For Youth with Special Health Care Needs. 2014, Louisiana Children's Special Health Services, DHH OPH
Surviving Adolescence: Adolescence and the Development of Habits. Pickhardt, CE. 2012, PsychologyToday.com
. Envisioning My Future: A Young Person's Guide to Health Care Transition. 2005, Chen's Medical Services-Florida Department of Health.
Physical Activity and Health: Adolescents and Young Adults. 1999, US Office of the Surgeon General. CDC.org
Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings. 2011, Ginsburg & Jablow. Elks Grove, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics
Helping Teenagers with Stress. 2013, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Teens and Stress: Who Has Time for It. 2010, FamilyDoctor.org
Transition can be a challenging task for any young person, but can be downright difficult for youth with special health needs.
Learning to manage your health and thinking of the transfer to adult healthcare providers can seem overwhelming. Like any project, breaking transition into small steps will help make it a smooth move to adulthood.
The transition workbook links provided in the grey sidebars provide easy step-by-step YTH prep activities. Look them over and pick the guide that best fits your needs and get started!
There is a transition app for youth with special healthcare needs available for android and apple phones. The app was designed by the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies. For details on the youth transition app - click this link AUCD.org.
Louisiana youth can check out the transition resources available from Children's Special Health Services for state specific info.
Many of the habits that we develop during our teen years, we take with us to adulthood. This refers to good and bad habits. Experts tell us that our behaviors now (things we do), are a good gauge of what we will do in the future.
Being active can improve physical as well as emotional health. YHT is a great time to try out different sports and activities. Bike riding, skating, jogging, and team sports are a great way to keep in shape. Staying active is a proven wellness strategy and a good health habit.
Eating a healthy diet is another good habit to start. Learning about food and and how to eat right can be fun and tasty. You can learn to cook just about anything with you tube videos. Who ever cooks in your home will probably be happy to have some help!
Don't start habits you'll wish you never did (like smoking). It's easy to start but heck to stop. Focus on habits that will help you be a healthier and happier you!