Adolescence and young-adulthood is a fragile age, it is a time filled with many changes.

At such a pivotal age, it is crucial for young adults to feel safe and supported in their journeys.  In society, there are already so many misconceptions regarding mental health, and so it is up to the adults to ensure the youth feel comfortable to share their feelings and thoughts.

Studies have shown that the more support a young adult has in their community, school or family, drastically reduces feelings of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

Specialists say that when you have someone to rely on, the tendency to have a better outlook on mental health is enormous. 

Sigrun Sigurjonsdottir, one of our specialists, states:

The developmental task of teenage years is to develop independence both emotionally and in terms of problem solving without parental support. Peers tend to hold a higher social value during this time and it’s helpful if parents can connect. Sometimes teenagers reject closeness from parents and this can lead to feelings of isolation and overwhelm.
A person’s brain is not fully developed until the age of 25 so teenagers still have a lot of maturing and problem solving to learn until then. It can be difficult for parents to differentiate from what is a “moody” teenager and when mental health issues in the form of distorted thinking, start to show up. It can be equally confusing for teenagers to know when their ability to solve their worries is capped. It’s this kind of thinking and loss of hope that anything can or will improve that can lead teenagers to make poor decisions.
I have noticed that when a teenager claims they need to speak to a professional, they are correct and parents should listen. Professionals can assist teenagers to sort out what is a mental health issue, what are normal concerns that come with being a teenager and if one of their friends is in trouble. By using our social networks we can help support not just our teenager but all of their friend network as well. 

Start by showing genuine interest in their troubles. Being empathetic and  having open conversations are a great way to build trust and understanding. Assist them in finding peer support in the community and school. 

Remember to follow up and keep the relationship active. Reaching out to a professional or specialist is another good, and sometimes necessary option.

It may seem like your efforts are small, but it is often the simple gestures that make an impact. Let’s all take small steps to help the young adults in our lives to achieve brighter mental health.

Sigrun was born and raised in Iceland. She grew up with liberal attitudes towards sexuality. Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The University of Central Florida and is pursuing a PhD in Human Sexuality from the International Institute of Clinical Sexology in Miami.

Sigrun is a directive therapist, who sees adolescents, adults and couples, will offer feedback, coping skills and various options for moving towards a higher quality of life. She is also a Certified Sex Therapist who values a biological alignment to mental health and welcomes working collaboratively with other medical providers.

Among her areas of practice are: Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Trauma Recovery, Grief Support, Relationship Counseling, Separation/Divorce Support, Communication Issues, Gender Identity, Transgender Care, Sexual Identity, Personal Development and Sex Therapy.