Mental health is a way of describing social and emotional wellbeing. Good mental health is central to a teenager’s healthy development. It is associated with:
- Feeling happy and positive about yourself and enjoying life
- Healthy relationships with family and friends
- Participation in physical activity and eating a healthy diet
- The ability to relax and to get a good night’s sleep
- Community participation and belonging
We need good mental health to build strong relationships, adapt to change and deal with life’s challenges.
Sometimes individuals with poor mental health may present as:
- Seeming down, feeling things are hopeless, being tearful or lacking motivation
- Having trouble coping with everyday activities
- Showing sudden changes in behaviour, often for no obvious reason
- Having trouble eating or sleeping
- Dropping school performance, or suddenly refusing to go to school
- Avoiding friends or social contact
- Making comments about physical pain (for example, headache, tummy ache or backache)
- Being aggressive or antisocial – for example, missing school or stealing
- Being very anxious about weight or physical appearance, weight loss, or failing to gain weight like others of a similar age
Additional information can be found at Mental Health and Autism from the National Autistic Society.
If you’re concerned, talk to your GP, who can put you in contact with an appropriate professional.