Today is Teen Mental Wellness Day – here’s ways to help your teen

Mar 2, 2023, 7:21 PM

MIDVALE, Utah — Teenagers who are struggling with their mental health are not always eager or ready to reach out for help. Thursday is Teen Mental Wellness Day, so we wanted to share some ideas with teens and parents who are seeking answers.

Devika Rajeev is a senior at Hillcrest High School and decided to act when she saw many of her peers struggling with mental health. She is working to reduce the stigma of mental health issues among teenagers, and the availability of resources and willingness to reach out for help are the two greatest challenges.

“Depression and anxiety, are all prevalent, especially in high schools,” Devika said. “I think it’s really important to bring awareness to that so that more people know that this is an ongoing issue.“

Devika is on several peer health panels and has made presentations on teen mental health to the Salt Lake County Health Department, and also at a teen mental health summit last summer. She wants to make it easier for teens to reach out for help, and reduce the stigma.

“Teens do have a hard time reaching out, which is definitely the first step to taking care of their mental health,” Devika said.

She said teens need to learn to recognize when they are struggling.

“They don’t know themselves what’s going on, or there’s like a lot of stigma around the issue,” Devika said. “So it’s hard for them to be even open about it or say that they do have mental health issues.”

Many Utah teenagers are more comfortable reaching out on the SafeUT app which provides live chat access to licensed mental health clinicians. Their goal is to provide emotional and mental health support and ultimately help the teens reconnect with their own circle of support.

“The big things that we’re seeing these days is a lot of anxiety, and a lot of worry and fear about life, about the world, about the ever-changing landscape of social issues,” Denia-Marie Ollerton, SafeUT Program Manager said.

Last year, SafeUT had more than one million back-and-forth text messages with teens. It also provided 349 life-saving interventions in which first responders were sent to help individuals in crisis. But, the most important step for a teenager who is struggling is to reach out to a trusted adult.

“We really want young people and teens to know that there are trusted adults in their area, in their corner, and that they can reach out to them for help,” Ollerton said.

She said teens shouldn’t feel as though they can shoulder mental health challenges only by talking among their peers. The SafeUT app is a great resource for teens not ready to reach out to a trusted adult.

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Today is Teen Mental Wellness Day – here’s ways to help your teen