Protecting Mental Health for Teens during Crisis Times

By request: Protecting Mental Health for Teens during Crisis Times.

Protecting Mental Health for Teens during Crisis Times. Teens often experience anxiety during crisis times like COVID-19 quarantines. Here are ways to help.

Protecting Mental Health for Teens during Crisis Times

Covid-19 has many people feeling anxious and even depressed. In my work as a mental health counselor, I have noticed that many teens and adults are struggling. Some may be affected by the stress of lockdowns more than others. Some teens are experiencing clinical levels of anxiety and depression.

What does it look like if a teen is struggling during a crisis time?

What can you do to protect mental health for your teens during these crisis times?

Parents can help their teens by:

Get outside for improved mental health during tough times. Trees and sunlight enhance physical and emotional wellbeing during tough times.

  • Provide positive diversions and experiences

    • Social time with positive friends and family (when not on coronavirus quarantines)
    • Doing things together with family like cooking, games, puzzles, read alouds, movie nights
    • Zoom lunches with friends
    • Or Zoom school projects with friends
  • Find good deeds to do

  • Practice active listening

    • Talk about it (allow him/her to tell the story of what happened or is happening)- MANY times!
    • When they are telling you what is going on for them, just listen. Try not to:
      • interrupt
      • tell them you know how they feel (because you can guess how they feel but no one really, truly knows how their teen feels)
      • instruct them that they shouldn’t feel that way
      • start telling them stories about yourself
    • Even when they are not telling you their feelings, listen actively to them
    • Make eye contact while they are speaking
    • Reflect back what they say (without mocking):
      • “What I hear you saying is…”
      • “So what you are feeling is…?”
  • Do not judge

    • Teens’ feelings are their feelings. It does not help to judge.
  • Help them make positive predictions about the future

  • Give hugs and physical presence

    • Teens (like all children) need an occasional hug
  • Check out a podcast

Teach your teen to practice deep breathing to enhance mood, calmness and improve immune system.

Crisis times do not last. Unfortunately for teens, they have not lived long enough to know this. You can help them by practicing and teaching as many of these ideas as possible.

However, give yourself grace: if your teen is in a crisis time, you are probably in a crisis time also. The current COVID-19 crisis is scary. Remember that God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. Be kind to yourself and that will give you more energy for kindness to your teens.

Download’s Health curriculum to empower your teens for healthy living: spirit, soul and body.

Also listen to this powerful interview with Kassandra Baker on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast as we discuss helping teens have a healthy relationship with food.

Finally, check out this interview with Melanie Wilson about handling screen time with teens.


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Protecting Mental Health for Teens during Crisis Times

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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