Teenagers

As a teenager, from time to time you may experience some sort of emotional or mental health difficulty which might affect the way you think and behave.

In the UK around one in ten children and young people have problems with their mental health or emotional wellbeing at some stage. That is like three people in each of your classes at school or college.

This also means that you are not alone, and many of these young people will have appointments with CAMHS too.

Even when lots of things seem to be good about someone’s life they can have mental health problems. There are lots of celebrities that have had mental health problems. Just a few are:

  • Singer, Robbie Williams has suffered from depression.
  • Footballer, David Beckham has OCD.
  • Presenter, Steven Fry has bi-polar affective disorder (manic depression)
  • American Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps has ADHD

We are here to help provide some information and point you in the right direction to get further help.

As a young person you have a right to be protected and be safe from harm from others and to grow up in a safe and caring environment.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse is when a child or young person is being hurt or harmed or is not being looked after properly.

Child abuse can be many things:

  • Being hit, or kicked
  • Not being properly looked after or fed
  • Being criticised, ignored or humiliated
  • Being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Being frightened when left alone without an adult to look after you
  • Being sexually abused (this can include inappropriate sexual behaviour, language or assault)

Abuse may be done by anyone, whether a member of your family, family friend or just someone you have come into contact with.

Every type of abuse is wrong and should be stopped. The best thing you can do if you are experiencing any abuse is to tell someone you can trust as they can help to make it stop.

Abuse can make you feel hurt, sad, lonely, ashamed, dirty, confused, guilty, worried, frightened, depressed or anxious. It can also make you have low self-esteem and affect how you are in future relationships. Abuse can affect your mental health.

Abuse is very difficult to talk about, but talking to someone is the only way to get it to stop.

If you want to know more about abuse and the help you can get you might find these websites useful, or see our useful links.

Being a teenager is not easy and with the pressures of school, family and friends life can become frustrating. During puberty your hormones are changing and this can alter your mood very quickly. Sometimes you might not be aware of this and you may not know that you are being moody or angry. Anger is a natural reaction to feeling hurt, let down or under threat and it can take many forms. It may be hard for some people to control or understand their anger because they have not yet learned how to deal with their emotions or know what might be making them feel angry. When your anger is out of control, this can result in hitting or physically hurting other people, shouting at other people, mixing with people who get you into trouble or breaking things.

Anger issues can also lead to other problems such as eating problems, depression, risky behaviour, refusing to go to school, becoming isolated, harming yourself, drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs.

If you feel that your anger is getting out of control on a regular basis or you feel unsafe it is important to try and deal with the anger instead of letting it get worse. It is important that you ask for help and talk to someone you can trust.

If you want to know more about anger issues, please see our useful links.

Many teenagers experience a variety of fears and worries in normal life, however they will not be classified as having an anxiety disorder unless their worries and fears cause a lot of distress and affect your relationships with your family and friends or your ability to attend school. Some of the main anxiety problems we help with are:

  • Phobias where you may be terrified, (seeing a dog for example)
  • Separation anxiety where you are constantly worried about being away from a parent
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) where you may have repetitive actions such as constantly checking things, or repetitive thoughts that you can’t stop
  • Generalised anxiety disorder where you may persistent worry not consistently focused on any one object or situation

If you are anxious, it’s really important that you speak to someone you trust so that you can get help.

If you want to know more about anxiety, please see our useful links.

You may have heard of the term ADHD. It stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and usually means you may find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. You might also have a lot of energy and may be doing and saying things without thinking.

ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder is the term given when you may have problems with concentration but not necessarily have a lot of energy as in ADHD.

Some of the signs are:

  • Restlessness
  • Talking a lot and often interrupting people
  • Being easily distracted when you are meant to be doing something
  • Finding it hard to concentrate for very long
  • Suddenly doing or saying things without thinking.

Just because you do some of these things it does not mean you have ADHD/ADD.

If you want to know more about ADHD, please see our useful links.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is the name for a group of similar conditions including autism, atypical autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

The common areas of difficulty which people with autism share are difficulty in making friends, difficulty with language and communication and difficulty with behaviour and using their imagination.

Many people with autism are very creative and may be, for example, accomplished artists, musicians or writers. Albert Einstein is one of the many famous people believed to have had Autism and his theories on relativity changed the way in which we view the world.

Sometimes children can show early signs of ASD and can be diagnosed during their childhood but sometimes it may be diagnosed in teenage years.

If you want to know more about autism, please see our useful links.

Bullying can happen to anyone at any age, anywhere and at any time; in school, at home, online, by your brother, sister, friends or adults.

Bullying includes:

  • Being hurt physically – pushed, kicked, hit
  • Being threatened or intimidated
  • Being teased or called names
  • Having rumours spread about you or being ignored
  • Receiving offensive text, emails and messages sent on social networks

Being bullied can make you feel scared, hurt, angry and vulnerable. No one has the right to hurt you or make you feel bad. It is not your fault. If you are being bullied, tell someone, a friend, parent or teacher or an adult you trust. Stand up and speak out, someone will listen and be able to help.

You can experience depression at any stage in your life. Depression can affect your feelings, behaviours, and thoughts. Having pressures at school, your parents splitting up or a close relative or friend dying can evoke strong feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness or worthlessness. You may experience a lack of energy, problems concentrating, have trouble sleeping, or cry a lot and not be able to explain why you feel so down. The difference between sadness and depression is that unlike normal sadness, depression is more severe and persistent and children and young people will often describe the mood as different from ordinary sadness

If you have depression, it’s really important that you speak to someone you trust so that you can get help.

If you want to know more about depression, please see our useful links.

It is not uncommon for young people to worry about their weight and changes to their bodies, and many will try to lose weight. However when these worries start to interfere with normal eating patterns and attitudes towards weight and shape the young person may be suffering from an eating disorder. There are two main types of eating disorder, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia is characterised by worrying about food and weight all the time and trying many ways to lose weight by dieting and exercising. Other people may tell you that you are thin but you think you are fat. Bulimia Nervosa is when you are worried about your weight but try and control their weight they become trapped in a cycle of binge eating and then making themselves sick or taking laxatives to get rid of the food.

Anorexia and bulimia are not just about food. They are about feelings and emotions too. You may become anorexic or bulimic because you want to be in control of something in your life to help you cope with stress and painful feelings.

Bulimia can cause serious harm to the body in the long term. If anorexia it is left untreated you can become dangerously underweight and have long-term physical problems. However, it is possible for you to recover from both disorders with help and treatment.

If you have any of these difficulties, it’s really important that you speak to someone you trust so that you can get help.

If you want to know more about anorexia or bulimia, please see our useful links.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and can experience a variety of problem’s at any given time. There are many reasons why families break down and it is a difficult time for everyone. As a result of parents/carers splitting up young people can feel many different emotions including fear, confusion, sadness or anger. Uncertainty about the future, where you might live, who you’ll live with and if you’ll see your other parent can all be questions you need answers to. It could help to talk to your parents or carers and tell them how you feel.

Step families come together when parents live with a new partner or remarry. This can be a very difficult and lonely time for young people and getting used to a parents new partner or step brothers and sisters can be hard. It is important to realise that you are not alone going through this time of change and talking about how you feel can make you feel better.

Parents can have mental health difficulties like stress, depression or issues with alcohol and drugs which impact on their ability to care for you. Sometimes you might even become your parent’s carer and you might be responsible for the cooking, cleaning and shopping. You might even provide personal care or give your parents emotional support. With so many adult responsibilities, you can often miss out on opportunities to hang out with your friends and or go to school or college. This can be hard for everyone involved and can make you worry about your parents and leave you feeling isolated and confused. You might feel afraid to ask for help because you think you are letting the family down, but you’re not. There are many people who can help you and your family.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is important to tell someone how you feel. Try talking to someone you feel comfortable with and trust like your parents, friend, teacher, youth worker or school nurse. They will be able to help you.

Remember if the person you first speak to does not help or does not believe you then speak to someone else.

The word psychosis is used to describe a group of conditions that affect the way a person thinks, feels and understands. A person may experience changes in mood and can often have unusual experiences like hearing and seeing things that are not there. Things seem real, but they are not. Thought processes can also be affected and the person may express unusual ideas or have difficulty maintaining conversations. It can be a very scary experience and often people avoid getting help in case they are told they are ‘mad.’ However if you do have psychosis it’s very important to get help as soon as possible. There is treatment that can help you and the sooner you get it the better it works.

If you are worried about your mental health you should talk to an adult you trust and arrange to visit your GP who will refer you on to a specialist or both.

What is self-harming?

Self-harming is when someone injures or harms themselves on purpose.

Self-harm is not about enjoying pain. Young people may self-harm as a way to cope with problems or painful or difficult feelings like feeling anxious, depressed or stressed. You may self-harm to try and feel in control of these issues or to punish yourself. There are also situations where some people feel that there is no alternative and they consider ending their lives intentionally.

Self-harming might include:

  • cutting, burning, picking or scratching yourself
  • head banging, hitting or pulling out hair
  • taking personal risks or neglecting themselves
  • taking an overdose of tablets
  • sometimes it is attempting to commit suicide if the problems are very severe.

Harming yourself or considering to harm yourself in any way is a sign that something is seriously wrong.

Some people feel the need to harm themselves every day whilst others self-harm when they are under pressure or stress. Much self-harming is done secretly and can be followed by feelings of shame and embarrassment.

If you think you are going to hurt yourself it is extremely important that you tell someone straight away and get help to keep safe. Talking to an adult you trust can help you understand the choices you have and help you find a solution.

If you would like to know more about self-harm, please see our useful links.

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