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How to Help Your Teen Struggling with Mental Health Issues

With each new generation come new challenges or different versions of the same struggles that have affected teens for decades. Bullying, peer pressure, body shaming, negative self-perception — the list of teen issues goes on and on. As a parent, you might have your own list from when you were young, but you may be unsure if it fully equips you to help your teen through their own difficulties. Many of the challenges, adolescents face involves mental health issues, some of which have the potential to lead to drug abuse as a coping mechanism. But how much do you know about these issues? Do you know the signs to look for or how to effectively help your teen?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 20 percent of all teens between the ages of 13 and 18 have or will have a serious mental illness. This includes mood, behavior and anxiety disorders. Your teen is not alone in their struggles. You’re not alone either, and it’s important that you both always keep that in mind while exploring your treatment options. 

By the Numbers: Teen Mental Illness

Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder affect thousands of teens across the country every year. These statistics point to their prevalence — and the need for compassionate counsel and care from loved ones.

Each year in America, 1 in 5 teens aged 13–18 experience a mental health condition.

LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.

Nearly 90 percent of teens who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

Eating disorders can develop in children as young as 8 years of age.

Half (50 percent) of all chronic mental illnesses begin by age 14.

Ways to Help Your Teen

Know the warning signs. It can be difficult to tell whether or not your teen has a mental disorder, but there are certain nonverbal cues and signs you can watch out for. The National Institute of Mental Health compiled these common warning signs of mental illness that you can be vigilant of. Some signals include meticulous or restrained eating (indicative of an eating disorder), oversleeping or exhaustion, extreme mood swings and wearing long sleeves or pants or bandages (to cover up signs of self-harm).

Educate yourself about mental illnesses. Learning everything you can about mental illness is the first step in knowing how to help someone struggling. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers a free education program for parents of teens with mental illnesses, called NAMI Basics.

Talk openly about mental illness. This is the first strategy for most parents, and oftentimes it can be one of the most effective. If your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder, the worst thing you can do is to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Talking openly and honestly to your teen about depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts reduces the stigma of silence around these issues, and lets your child know that it’s OK to speak up about what they’re going through.

Have a conversation about drug abuse. Many teens choose to experiment with drugs and alcohol to escape the weight of a mental disorder. While your teen may never try dangerous substances, don’t assume that they won’t — instead, have a discussion about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. If you fear your teen is addicted, talking to them is even more important. Learning the difference between confrontation and conversation is crucial in knowing how to approach the situation.   

Be supportive, not enabling. When and if your teen opens up about their mental illness struggles, be patient, and above all, listen. Let your teen know that having a mental health issue doesn’t change how much you love them. It may be difficult, but try not to jump to conclusions or blame certain people, events or situations for what your child is experiencing. It can be all too easy to practice enabling behaviors that do more harm than good, such as offering to do homework or making excuses for their mental illness.

Don’t use dismissive or judgmental language. When talking to someone who’s struggling, it’s important to think about the way you talk. Platitudes like “Everything’s going to be OK” and “You’ll get over it” do nothing to help someone with a mental health disorder. Instead, ask questions like “How can I best support you right now?” Reassure your teen that they’re not the only one who deals with these issues and that you’re by their side through it all.

Consult your pediatrician or primary care doctor. Your teen’s doctor will be able to give you pointers on how to identify the presence of a mental illness and advice on how to proceed should your teen’s condition worsen. If your teen’s doctor does not provide a diagnosis or referral to another professional, it can be beneficial to seek a second opinion. It’s better to be cautious than let a mental illness fester.

Get a referral for a mental health specialist. Talk therapy with a licensed counselor can go a long way to help someone battling mental illness. Saying something like “It worries me to hear you talking like this; let’s talk to someone about it,” can be the key to broaching the topic of counseling with your teen. Your doctor or health insurance representative will be able to recommend therapy options that fit your budget and align with your child’s needs.

The Bottom Line on Teens and Mental Illness

Mental illness can often fuel eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts. If you’re worried that your teen’s mental illness has led to substance abuse or an eating disorder, reach out to The Recovery Village. Our facilities provide comprehensive, confidential treatment for substance use, mental health and eating disorders, so your teen can get back on track to wellness. 


The recovery village Columbus


Smoking and HIV

Recent Studies on smoking in people with HIV, published NAM Factsheet, fount that found that people living with HIV appear to metabolise nicotine at a faster rate than HIV-negative people.

This could explain why people with HIV are more likely to become smokers and find it harder to quit. People who metabolise nicotine at a slower rate smoke fewer cigarettes, are less dependent on nicotine and are more likely to succeed in quitting smoking. This was an innovative study – other researchers should try to do the same experiment and see if they get the same results.

The other study found that frequent cannabis smoking is a risk factor for lung disease in men with HIV, in addition to cigarette smoking as a risk factor. It is well known that people with HIV have an increased risk of lung disease. This is partly because of the high rates of smoking among HIV-positive individuals, as well as damage caused by HIV and immune suppression.

The research involved both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. During ten years of follow-up, men living with HIV who had smoked cannabis every week for at least a year were more likely to have lung disease due to an infection (33%) than men living with HIV who did not use cannabis (22%). Similarly, cannabis smokers were more likely to have bronchitis (21%) than men who did not smoke cannabis (17%).

In contrast, in the men who did not have HIV, cannabis was not linked to either form of lung disease. This suggests that people with HIV are especially vulnerable to lung disease caused by cannabis smoking.


Personal Hygiene: Luxury or Necessity?

I have heard people prescribe different methods to keep up with personal hygiene and I must confess most of those methods work but it is important to note that personal hygiene is a thing of the mind. I see some people giving me the eye already. “I mean how can a practical thing such as hygiene be a thing of the mind? Let’s analyze this example, you rush out for work in the morning and go through all the hassles of the day then when you get back home you are so tired that you fly on your bed with you makeup still glowing, your over 9-hours panty, sweat ridden skin, and sweetened tooth. Okay, you work up somewhat refreshed the next morning and continued the cycle. Did you stop to think of the germs gathered on your sheets, the sweaty makeup filled pillow and all?

The mind controls your thoughts, words, and deeds so if you ask me it plays a major role in deciding your cause of action when you are faced with the dilemma of choosing what to do when you get home at night, and how best to take care of yourself.

As a woman, taking charge of your body is key to realizing the inner feminine glow. This includes your personal hygiene.  When you feel good on your inside, you feel confident on the outside- just like mathematics, this is the simple formula for basking in your femininity.

Some things you should consider: what do I really do when I brush my teeth, and take what I consider a good bath? What do I visualize when I think of lingerie? Do I shop for those pieces that create a sensational feeling and are good for my health or do I just place random orders? What kind of soaps and ointments do I use? How do I take care of the items that come closest to my skin and private areas?

Asking these salient questions is the first step towards improving your personal hygiene.

Since we are taking a closer look at how to care for our private areas, let’s consider some of the things we may already know about the process.

Medical experts have said that using water (with or without a mild soap) to clean down below is the best method of prevention. In addition to avoiding bubble baths, use soft, white, unscented toilet paper and unscented feminine products.  Also, try to avoid anything that causes dampness in the region.  That means promptly change your underwear after exercising or removing bathing suits as soon as you are out of the water.

Since the vagina has a self-cleansing mechanism, you don’t have to do much simply use water to gently remove little dirt and debris. If you must use a cleanser, make sure it’s a mild form of soap.  Try not to overdo cleansing in the area because it may cause an imbalance of the normal growth of bacteria around your vagina and lead to possible infections.   Lastly, try to take showers and not baths.  Bath water is full of bacteria from the skin, so sitting in the tub will allow these bacteria to reach the genital region, which can increase your chances of getting a urinary tract infection.

One other problem topic as regards cleaning of a woman’s private has to do with SHAVING. I am often taken aback when I hear some ladies say they do not like to shave. Like seriously!! How do you even get comfortable with that? It is true that some people get irritations and swellings as a result of this action but sister know this, it is not hygienic at all!!!

Okay, I hear some people ask: What of waxing and the use of shaving creams? Well, I think apart from the pain that comes with waxing and the chemicals in shaving creams, they still do some justice to proper hygiene but not shaving at all?! Common sister, you know that is totally wrong.

It is time women stop making excuses with the belief that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker. This notion is FALSE.  If hair does appear thicker to you, it may be because of the angle in which the razor or shaver cut the hair.  Make sure you shave in the direction of hair growth to avoid razor bumps.  Choose a lubricating shave gel to prevent nicks and cuts and place a cool compress on the skin after shaving to prevent irritation and swelling.  Shaving can cause spreading of any existing warts so the best way to prevent this from happening is to use one razor for the area with the wart and use another razor for the rest of the body.

You know, this few tricks may just come in handy in saving your home someday. You never know.


Eruke Ojuederie



Alligator pepper (grains of paradise) means different things to different people. It is served along with Kola-nuts to guests for entertainment, as communion. It is a common ingredient in pepper soup, a spicy delight in most parts of West Africa. But since antiquity, alligator pepper has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of many diseases. The alligator pepper plant has both medicinal and nutritive values and the extracts of its seeds has been used as an antidote to dysentery and diarrhoea. But alligator pepper, which is called names such as grains of paradise, Atare (in Yoruba), chitta (Hausa), or Guinea pepper.

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