Discussing mental health and seeking help as a teen can be challenging

Discussing Mental Health and Seeking Help as a Teen

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The excitement of discovery of someone’s teen years is accompanied by struggle too. There are new skills to practice, new feelings to identify, and new information to process. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times!

Seeking help outside can feel difficult, but it can be an important step towards reclaiming control over your inner life. Let’s look at the symptoms of poor mental health and what you and trusted people in your life can do about it.

Understanding Your Mental Health: Identifying Signs and Symptoms

While each person’s experience with mental health is unique, there are common signs that can help you identify struggle.

Psychological signs: Pay attention to changes in your mood, such as persistent sadness, irritability, or extreme mood swings.

Physical signs: Anxiety and depression aren’t two simple feelings: nausea, faster breathing, aches and pains, poor sleep, changes in sex drive, changes in appetite, and restlessness are all symptoms to monitor.

Changes in behavior: Difficulties in concentration, withdrawal from activities you once enjoyed, or feelings of hopelessness are warning signs that something might be wrong.

What’s the Role of Our Environment?

Our environment plays a significant role in shaping our mental health. Big life changes can bring feelings of uncertainty and stress:

  • Moving
  • Starting at a new school
  • Financial struggles
  • Relationship problems
  • Medical conditions
  • Living with an addiction or with a person with addiction

Your struggles may stem from one of these problems or multiple problems at once. Regardless, it is okay to reach out for support for navigating your life and building coping skills to improve your mental health.

It’s also completely valid to reach out if you are experiencing none of these issues. Seeking the support of friends or professional help is not dependent on what’s happened to you. Trust your instincts and be honest about your feelings. If you are concerned, take action. Self-care can be an act of power!

Initiating Conversations About Mental Health

Let’s face it, it can be difficult to share deeply personal feelings that are positive, much less the feelings of deep struggle that accompanies a decline in mental health. But without getting past that initial barrier of speaking about your problem, the problem rarely gets better on its own. The great news is you are not alone. There are always people who can help.

Who Should You Talk to When Seeking Help as a Teen?

Identify trusted people in your life, such as friends, family, teachers, school counselors, or role models. Talk to them in a safe and private space.

Be Open And Honest

Approach the conversation honestly, sharing how you’ve been feeling and changes to your thoughts or behavior. Bravery is required to face something scary, and being vulnerable can definitely feel scary. Starting these discussions shows your resiliance. People who care about you will respect your honesty.

A young woman at the doctor's office

Building a Supportive Network: Seeking Help Outside Your Inner Circle

While reaching out to trusted friends and family members is great, seeking support beyond your close circle may also be necessary. Finding additional support systems can offer different perspectives and resources to help you on your mental health journey.

Explore avenues such as mental health hotlines, teen clinics, online communities, and support groups for teenagers. In addition, use the resources available in your school, such as counselors and psychologists, who can provide professional guidance and assistance.

Your supportive network is your safety net that understands and empathizes with your struggles. Including trusted professionals can be an important part of that safety network.

Navigating the Path to Help: Exploring Resources and Professional Support

Finding the right resources and seeking professional help is crucial for mental health. Start by exploring online platforms, mental health websites, and helplines that provide information, tools, and guidance.

But, if you need individual counseling, consider finding a qualified therapist who offers specialized support for teens. Learn about seeking professional help, from finding therapists to booking appointments, and be aware of any potential costs or insurance coverage.

Taking Care of You: Practical Self-Care for Mental Well-being

Prioritizing self-care is an integral part of maintaining good mental health. Adding self-care practices into your daily routine can reduce stress, enhance resilience, and improve overall well-being. So, what can you do?

Healthy Lifestyle

Regular physical activity, such as walking, yoga, or dancing, boosts your mood and reduces anxiety. A nutritious diet supports brain function and emotional well-being. Bolster your energy with good sleep hygiene, such as reducing screen time before bed, allowing enough time for sleep (8-10 hours for teens), keeping a consistent schedule, and avoiding large meals close to bedtime.

Express Yourself

Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, to promote a sense of calm. Journaling can provide an outlet for self-expression and reflection. Engage in hobbies or activities that bring you joy and give you a sense of fulfillment.

Be True to Yourself

Sometimes, you may have to set healthy boundaries and practice saying no when necessary to protect your mental and emotional energy. These coping strategies will enable you to manage stress better, build resilience, and foster a positive mindset for improved mental well-being.

Your Mental Health Matters: Seeking Help is a Sign of Strength

Discussing mental health and seeking help as a teen is challenging but crucial for taking control of your well-being. Don’t be afraid to break the silence and find the support you need. Value yourself, stay attuned to how you truly feel, and ask for help from your loved ones and professionals when needed. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and your mental health matters.

Pride 2023

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June has held a celebratory air for me ever since the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision legalized same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015. I felt hope that everyone would be treated with greater dignity and respect as acceptance of LGBTQ+ people grew across the United States.

And you know what, even though a lot of LGBTQ+ news hasn’t been uplifting lately, some of that hope has been realized. There are so many people and organizations like myHealth that accept LGBTQ+ people as who they are. Affirming clinics are not a curiosity, but the norm in the healthcare world.

As the fight for our rights continues, I choose to see the amazing allies first, and the negative minority second. After all, Pride was first celebrated in 1970, not 2015. The American Psychiatric Association had not even removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses in 1970 and Pride still happened. Every year, we’ve chosen to see the good that is possible and proclaim our freedom from conformity.

Part of living in a space where you can be yourself is allowing others to be themselves. It’s important to myHealth staff to create that kind of a place. Whether it’s through community partnerships, cultural education, or patient feedback, we are always looking to learn more about the young people in our community and how to give them the care that they need in the way they want it.

I want to join all my friends at myHealth in wishing you a HAPPY PRIDE in 2023. Celebrate your identity, your freedom to be you, and all the hardworking people who fought for LGBTQ+ liberation.

To my gay brothers and sisters, my transgender siblings, and my straight allies: I’m Proud of You.

Young woman reading with her cat.

7 Ways to Practice Body Neutrality

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You’ve heard of body positivity, but what about body neutrality? With nearly 4 out of 5 women and 1 out of 3 men expressing dissatisfaction with their bodies, it’s important to find strategies that help a wide variety of people. If one person finds it easy to be body positive, another may truly struggle to think positivity about a body image struggle they’ve had since they were young.

And unfortunately, body image struggles does tend to begin at a young age. In fact, 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25, which matches almost exactly the age range served by myHealth for Teens and Young Adults.

Body neutrality provides a framework to feel neutral or better about yourself on days where body image is a struggle. Body neutrality is all about removing guilt, respecting your body, and challenging negativity.

Let’s examine seven ways to practice body neutrality. And if these habits lead to positivity, that’s fantastic too!

1. Think Healthier, Not Skinnier

A lot of health plans focus on body shape and dieting, which can have undesired side effects:

  • Unrealistic body image
  • De-emphasizing health
  • Nutrition imbalances
  • Risk of developing eating disorders

Focusing on your health rather than your weight can improve both your physical and mental health. Find healthy habits that feel attainable and sustainable so that you can achieve many years of good health. After all, the goal of learning about health is to be healthy! What that looks like to an outside observer is going to vary from person to person.

Honor your body by finding a variety of foods that fuel it Talk to your health care provider about foods that you can add that could improve your quality of life.

Energize your body by moving it in ways that feel good. It’s important to talk to your health care provider about your activity levels, especially if you want to make a significant change in your activity levels. They can help you achieve your goals in a way that reduces the risk of injury.

2. Find Supportive People

We’re all in this together. Spend time with people who are supportive of your goals. On social media, make a point of following people that are body neutral/body positive. When you see a variety of people with a variety of body types, your perceptions will better align with what people actually look like in the real world! This can help produce body neutral feelings.

Don’t filter out different body types in your brain. Consider how different people might feel in their bodies and accept them the same way you would want them to accept you and your body.

3. Complement Others

There are qualities that your friends have that you really appreciate but you’ve never mentioned to them. Tell them! Sharing what you like about people can be a great way to strengthen your friendship. And don’t your friends deserve to feel good about themselves too?

But this isn’t just about them. When you see the beauty and value in others, you are better able to see the beauty and value in yourself too. Some of us are prone to unrealistically negative opinions about ourselves. Sharing a compliment about someone’s style or kindness opens your heart to see yourself more honestly too.

4. Practice Setting Boundaries

Sometimes people make unwelcome comments about you that make you feel uncomfortable. It is completely normal and healthy for you to set boundaries with people to limit those experiences.

Here are some examples of how you can set boundaries with people:

  • Tell someone a certain subject is off-limits. “My acne is a topic for me and my doctor.”
  • Remind people that a conversation needs to be respectful. “We can talk about my diet, but if things get too heated or disrespectful, we’ll need to end the conversation.”
  • Stick to your boundaries. “You know talking about my weight is a hard line for me. We can change the topic, or I’m going to have to leave.”

Some people won’t respect your boundaries, and you may choose to spend less time with them. But if any conversation gets stressful for you, it’s okay to take some time to yourself. (See item 6 below!)

5. Use Social Media Less

Studies show that social media use is correlated with negative thoughts and anxiety. And not just anyone’s studies: Instagram’s internal studies found that the app facilitates body image problems. Over 40 percent of young people who report feeling “unattractive” said the feelings started when using Instagram.

Social media is an experimental force in our society. You’re not wrong to want to keep its influence on the sideline. One way to do that is find 30 minutes you would usually spend on social media and replace it with something else like music, games, exercise, or meditation.

6. Do a Nice Thing for Your Body

Do something that says, “Hey body, thanks for sticking with me. Enjoy this one on me.”


  • Sitting on the grass
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Getting a massage
  • Listening to music (and just music)
  • Taking a nap
  • Doing deep breathing
  • Writing down what you’re thinking and feeling

Try a couple of these ideas or make up some healing routines of your own.

7. Practice Helpful Affirmations

Find some things you like about yourself, physical or non-physical. Remind yourself of those things in the morning. Set the tone of your day.

Each person consists of so many parts. Acknowledging your whole self is an important part of your mental health. This means acknowledging the parts of yourself that give you joy, yes, but also confronting areas that are tougher for you.

This is where body neutrality comes in. You don’t have to pretend things are different than they are. You don’t have to feel positive all the time. You can find a neutral place to start your day and find a respectful relationship with your body.

Here are some ideas for body neutral affirmations:

  • “I am grateful that my body keeps me going.”
  • “I deserve to wear clothes that I like.”
  • “I will respect my body.”
  • “I deserve to enjoy myself.”
  • “This is my body. I accept my body.”


While there’s no perfect solution to body image struggles, practicing body neutrality can help. If you find that a consistent practice of body neutrality is not relieving your symptoms of distress, it may be time to speak with a mental health counselor. You can call myHealth at 952-474-3251 to ask about counseling services. Our wonderful therapists are equipped to help!

How Old is Too Old to See a Pediatrician?

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At the beginning of life, a child has their health care needs met by a parent or guardian who brings them to a pediatrician. But as they age, a child may begin to feel differently about keeping the same doctor they saw when they were a toddler.

Many pediatrician’s offices are designed to make small children feel welcome. If you’re 14 years old and surrounded by decorations and toys for someone half your age, you may feel like you’re in the wrong place!

With each stage of life comes slightly different needs. As young people age into teenagers and experience puberty, they may want to keep some conversations with their doctor confidential.

When is it time to stop seeing a pediatrician?

If a young person wishes to remain with their pediatrician, they usually may do so until age 21; however, many young people begin to transition away from pediatricians after puberty.

One great option for those teens is an adolescent medicine specialist like myHealth for Teens and Young Adults. Adolescent specialty clinics are equipped not only to provide a welcoming environment, but know the challenges and needs unique to young people who are making the transition to adulthood.

Giving your child the tools to succeed

myHealth’s mission is to improve the health of our community by providing health services and information that support all teens and young adults in making responsible and well-informed decisions.

Here are some ways we help prepare young people for the world of adult medicine:

  • Client-first care that empowers young people feel in charge of their health
  • Easy scheduling by phone or online
  • Judgment-free services, whether in primary, reproductive, or mental health care
  • Comprehensive education on medication and lifestyle choices
  • Low cost to free care for clients not using insurance
  • Staff trained as MNsure Navigators can help young people apply for insurance

myHealth sees young people to ages 12 to 26. Everyone who ages out of services at myHealth is sent off with information about transitioning to adult medicine, time with a nurse, and an opportunity to apply for health insurance.

We believe in going above and beyond in the field of adolescent care. We understand that young people are trying to navigate the world on their own, and we do everything we can to make that experience not merely an effective one, but a positive one.

Just as important as giving health care to young people is preparing them to continue caring for themselves as they gain independence. myHealth is proud to be one of many clinics to share the goal of informing young people in a way that empowers them to seek the care that is right for them.

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