The Mental Health Impact of Social Media Use

Nearly every North American adolescent and teenager uses at least one social media platform daily, with most checking in online constantly throughout the day. But are there negative effects of this type of communication and technology use?

Unfortunately, teens face negative consequences from multiple angles in regard to social media. There are physical effects such as lack of sleep, social effects like cyber bullying, and emotional effects such as low self-esteem. Passive, versus active use of social platforms is a differentiation that will influence which of these outcomes teens will experience the most. 

Below, Eva Carlston Academy takes a closer look at how social media use can cause a decline in mental health, as well as how the use of these platforms can affect teens physically and socially. 

Social Impacts of Technology That Affect Mental Health

Social impacts are experienced more by active users than passive. Cyber bullying is experienced by 10% of all teens that are active on social sites and is therefore one of the most common negative effects overall. Bullying lowers self-esteem and can make teens and adolescents more reluctant to engage with their peers. Plus, when rumors are spread online, teens can face various forms of societal isolation.

Excessive self-absorption is another common side effect of posting frequently on social platforms: teens become more self-centered and end up feeling distanced from people they interact with in person. They can also struggle to connect.  

These impacts can have serious consequences on mental health as well. The abuse from online bullies and the disconnect experienced during in-person interaction increase the risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Emotional Impacts

Emotional impacts are more prevalent in passive users. Teens who spend a lot of time scrolling posts on sites like Facebook and Instagram often compare themselves to the people they view. They believe that others are happier and lead more perfect lives, with flawless skin and attractive bodies. Teens then end up feeling insecure about their individuality and believe they aren’t able to keep up with the rest of their peers or society as a whole.

Unfortunately, negative emotions also increase at high rates as teens try to combat discomforts like loneliness and isolation. As they continue to scroll, feeling worse about their own situations, mental health struggles, such as body-image concerns, depression and self-harm can become more severe.

Physical Impacts

There are two main physical effects that can end up altering the mental health of teens whether they are active or passive users. Studies have proven that longer durations of technology use per day (3 hours or more) especially during nighttime hours can result in a lack of sleep and/or more disruptive sleep. Insomnia can lead to issues like brain fog, stress, irritability, and more.

Spending a large amount of time on social sites also reduces the amount of physical activity that teens tend to participate in. Exercise and outdoor activities release serotonin and endorphins and reduce feelings of loneliness; teens that spend time scrolling through networking sites miss out on these beneficial activities.

On a broad scale, a lack of restful sleep and limited physical activity can result in poor mental health outcomes: depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts all become more prevalent. 

Final Thoughts

It is evident that both passive and active use of social media can easily deteriorate the mental health of teen users. Whether a teen experiences negative social, emotional, or physical impacts from use of networking sites, their mental health can fall by the wayside.

The Importance of Meaningful Family Traditions

Family traditions can have many purposes and prompt responses ranging from joyful anticipation to sorrowful remembrance. In most cases, traditions play a connective and formative role. Eva Carlston Academy reviews what makes family traditions so important, especially in childhood and adolescence.

The consistent recurrence of traditions can provide comfort and stability in an ever-changing world, especially during the developmental stages. Traditions can also strengthen cultural values and family bonds, support personal identity formation, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

Trimming the Christmas tree as a family, getting ice cream together on Saturdays, or singing Grandma’s favorite song on the anniversary of her passing can make such a big difference in family bonds.

What Makes a Family Custom

While many people associate traditions with long-standing practices passed down for generations, not every ritual began with Great-great-great-grandma. Rather, a family tradition is simply an event or custom that begins somewhere within the family unit and is repeated regularly in the family setting. In a way, it is a family’s own small-scale culture.

Though many family traditions coincide with annual religious celebrations, birthdays, and national holidays, others take place on a weekly or daily basis, or at some other regular interval. Almost anything that a family considers significant and repeats regularly can become a tradition.

For those with contentious family relationships, those who have experienced the loss of their closest family members, and those who live too far away to create meaningful and consistent family customs, creating traditions with friends who act as “chosen family” can offer many of the same social and health benefits as those that unite blood relatives.

The Value of Rituals

While celebratory traditions often become happy shared memories, other traditions may be important reminders of a solemn family event. Despite their different tones, both types of traditions have the ultimate goal of bringing people together. Creating and maintaining the human connections they promote is a critical part of living a happy, healthy, and balanced life.

One of the most common ways to mark a tradition is with a shared meal, which can take place a few times a year or on a weekly or even daily basis. Research has shown that making family dinners a regular occurrence can have a significant positive impact on a child’s development, emotional well-being, and eating habits throughout life.

Sharing a meal with extended family members is also a great way to bring together loved ones who aren’t in regular contact, as it involves temporarily setting aside other activities and devices that often distract from conversation. When it comes to relationships, quality, consistency, and depth outweigh quantity and breadth in promoting lasting happiness and feelings of security.

Making a collective decision to pronounce something as “tradition” can help break up the humdrum monotony of day-to-day life. It can also promote a healthy work-life balance, especially since the pandemic has recently blurred the lines between the family-focused home setting and the productivity-focused workplace.

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Examples of Regular Family Traditions

When it comes to defining traditions, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to what “counts” and what doesn’t.

Families that practice a particular religion may observe liturgical holidays, fast days, feast days, or days of rest in accordance with their faith traditions. In addition to these more serious and religiously significant traditions, holidays that began as or have become secular celebrations can also provide an occasion for meaningful annual get-togethers or gift exchanges.

Here are a few examples of annual traditions that are particularly popular and widespread:

  • Trick-or-treating on Halloween
  • Giving gifts and blowing out candles on birthdays
  • Going out for dinner or giving gifts on Valentine’s Day
  • Eating a ]meal with extended family on Thanksgiving
  • Hunting for eggs and giving treats to children on Easter
  • Giving gifts during religious celebrations like Hanukkah and Christmas
  • Telling tales of Leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day
  • Setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July
  • Visiting a loved one’s grave on the day of their passing

In addition to these annual traditions, many smaller-scale traditions take place more frequently, including:

  • Reading bedtime stories to children
  • Praying before meals
  • Volunteering on a regular basis
  • Taking turns cooking dinner on different days of the week
  • Going out or getting take-out on certain days of the week/month
  • Family volunteering projects
  • Family game or movie nights
  • Seasonal fruit or vegetable picking as a family
  • Attending church services together

How to Create and Keep Family Customs

For many, the term “tradition” is tied to holidays, gift-giving, traveling, and catering for a crowd. While some people enjoy going all-out for such traditions, there’s a limit to how often someone can reasonably find the time (and the money!) to plan and execute such elaborate celebrations. There’s a reason that big holidays like Christmas only come once a year!

Luckily, however, not every tradition has to be so grandiose. In fact, many of the most meaningful traditions are fairly easy to organize, affordable to host, and variable in length. Things as simple as “Taco Tuesday,” nightly prayers, and monthly family movie night are great ways to strengthen family connections on a recurring basis.

While family traditions can promote stability and connection, especially for those experiencing the stressful changes of adolescence, having too many traditions risks desensitizing family members to the importance of joining together. Finding a quantity and collection of traditions that appeals to everyone in the family may take some experimentation, creativity, trial, and error.

To promote the connection, comfort, and familiarity at the core of every family tradition, each participant should be encouraged to offer input on how to adjust and improve traditions to make them meaningful for all involved.


Family traditions are integral to identity-formation, especially during childhood and adolescence. Traditions can help to promote a healthy work-life balance and can become the source of many lasting memories. Whether their intent is festive celebration or remembrance and consolation, traditions strengthen human connections through their comforting familiarity and consistency.

The Importance of Family Relationships

Life is easier with a supportive family. Individuals, regardless of their age, require nurturing, soul-calming relationships with their relatives to bolster their confidence and give them the courage necessary to tackle life’s challenges. Eva Carlston Academy reviews that well-documented studies show mental health and well-being are directly related to their familial bonds.

While strong family relationships are necessary at all stages of life, they are particularly important for teenagers, who often go through challenging and uncertain times.

Why Family Connections Are Important

Stability, mental growth, and overall well-being are dependent on family bonds. Without healthy connections, children can struggle to form relationships outside of their homes, leaving them scrambling for friends or partners later in life.

Strong families teach forgiveness and ensure all members know how to build and retain trust in others as they share both good and bad times.

On top of that, they provide children with valuable, healthy conflict-resolving techniques that will serve them well in many situations.

As for the adults in robust families, they benefit from feeling safe, connected, comfortable, and respected by the people they care about.

Strong Family Relationships and the Impact on Teenagers

Teenagers’ relationships with their families change as they hit adolescence. However, they require as much parental and familial support as they did when they were young children.

Adolescence can be challenging. Not only does it bring physical changes, but also emotional ones, causing teens to feel unsure about where they fit in and who they are or want to be.

Furthermore, they may be weighed down by influences from their peers, pressure from school, and many other unique difficulties.
So, the presence of a secure, tight-knit family is crucial at this stage in their lives.

Strong family bonds provide a safe emotional base where teens feel appreciated and loved, regardless of the challenges they may be facing in the outside world. They can improve confidence and optimism while helping them establish their identity and build resilience.

Teenagers in families with clear boundaries, rules, and standards offer consistency and predictability, resulting in feelings of belonging and safety that they won’t get elsewhere.

In short, robust family bonds give teens the tools they need to tackle whatever adolescence throws at them — which can be a massive undertaking.

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Steps to Building Strong Family Relationships

While the steps below may sound simple, it’s easy to forget about these important aspects of family life, especially with external stressors. But experts encourage families to follow these seven tips for strengthening their bonds and giving every member safety, comfort, appreciation, and love:

  1. Quality Time — Mealtimes provide perfect opportunities for families to sit together, catch up, and have a laugh.
  2. Appreciation — Praise and gratitude go a long way.
  3. Celebration — Cherish the uniqueness of everyone in the family unit, celebrating their abilities and strengths.
  4. Communication — Always respect members’ needs. If they want to talk about something, they deserve the space to allow them to express themselves completely.
  5. Teamwork — Sharing household chores ensures every member feels acknowledged for their contributions.

Strong family relationships build resilient teens capable of overcoming setbacks and other life challenges which can support them throughout life. Having a strong family support system is vital for healthy social connections, tenacity, and confidence in themselves.

Being Resilient as a Teen and Healing from Trauma

Adolescence is a time of rapid physical, psychological, and social changes that can be both exciting and challenging. As teens transition from childhood to adulthood, they face a number of difficult issues and emotions that can be intensified for those who have experienced traumatic life events. Eva Carlston Academy reviews that with teens who have experienced trauma, resilience is a key factor in their ability to heal and cope with their experiences.

Resilience is the capacity to cope with adversity and tap into one’s inner strength to keep going, even in the face of challenges and hardships. By understanding the importance of being emotionally strong as a teen, young people can take positive steps to build on their mental toughness and cope with their trauma.

The Impact of Trauma

Trauma can have a severe and lasting impact on the physical, mental, and emotional health of young people. Traumatic events can include physical or sexual abuse, serious accidents or injuries, natural disasters, sudden loss of a parent, or other life-altering events. The effects of these traumatic events can linger long after the event has passed, impacting the teen’s day-to-day functioning and sense of security.

While not all teens will experience the same level of distress, those who have experienced trauma may be more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty developing and maintaining relationships with their peers.

The Importance of Resiliency

When faced with such intense emotional stress, resilience becomes a critical component in helping teens heal and cope. This ability acts as a way to manage adversity and to tap into one’s inner strength.

Resilient teens are often better able to handle emotional distress that can accompany traumatic events and are more likely to process their experiences in a healthy manner. This way, they can overcome the emotional and psychological challenges of trauma while developing through the rigors of teen life.

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Building Strength

There are several ways that teens can build inner strength and foster the skills needed to handle stress. Developing healthy coping skills, such as breathing exercises and mindfulness, can help teens identify and manage their emotions effectively.

Additionally, young people may benefit from developing a supportive social network, with friends and family members who can provide support and help them work through difficult times. Finally, teens can benefit from talking to a mental health professional, who can provide guidance and support as they heal.

Seeking Support

Reaching out for help is an important step in the healing process for anyone. Seeking support from family, friends, or professionals can help teens build resiliency and cope with their distress. Additionally, engaging in supportive activities and self-care can help teens build inner strength and deal with their traumatic experiences.

Final Thoughts

Adolescence can be a difficult time for teens, and even more so for those who have experienced trauma. By understanding the importance of being emotionally tough as a teen, young people can take positive steps to build resiliency and cope with life’s issues. While it may take time and patience, it is the first step to long-term healing.

The Importance of Social Skills in Teens

The teenage years are a time for learning and discovery. It’s when children begin to come into their own, but more importantly, to learn how to flourish as a confident human.

Teenagers begin to truly value and understand an array of skills that likely have been shared with them at a young age. They start developing tangible financial and academic skills and navigate complex relationships with peers, teachers, siblings, and parents.

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The teenage years are the most formative when it comes to social skills that will remain essential throughout one’s life — both in personal and professional matters. Teaching social skills can be challenging, but it can also be difficult for the person attempting to learn and understand them.

Eva Carlston Academy reports that social skills are among the most important lessons a teenager will ever receive. Here’s why:

It Imparts Communication Skills that Will Always Be Vital

For teenagers, social skills don’t just mean how to get along with people their own age. The lessons learned about language and interactions fuel the way they communicate with professors in college, co-workers, partners, and eventually their own children.

By teaching effective approaches to social interactions, teenagers are set on a path to interact properly with adults and then eventually become more socially responsible adults.

It Helps with Conflict Resolution

Proper social skills in teenagers lead to effective ways to navigate conflict resolution and make better decisions.

For young teenagers, that often comes in the form of peer pressure, whether that means how they treat others their own age or how they avoid situations such as bullying or alcohol/drug temptations.

With the right social skillset developed early, conflict resolution techniques are honed as well. And conflict resolution skills are always valuable.

It Helps Teenagers Gain Confidence and Self-Esteem

At its heart, low self-esteem primarily stems from the view that one isn’t good enough, that they are unlovable or inadequate. Instilling effective social skills early can reverse the epidemic of low self-esteem in teenagers which can lead to dangerous behavior.

Positive social skills including ways to take in and offer constructive criticism, communicate honestly, and be able to advocate for oneself and for others can have a lasting impact on how one feels about themselves for their entire life.

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It Helps Develop Purpose-Driven Lives

Teens who develop social skills early are more likely to apply them to the good of the community.

That’s the awesome power of positive social skills. They not only make teens more effective people able to navigate the ups and downs of life but make them more successful citizens.

This comes in small forms, such as discerning the body language and social cues of others in order to form a proper response or larger forms such as helping teens understand the importance of volunteerism and giving back to the community.

Teens with social skills become adults who know how to compliment others, ask others for their opinion, and be empathetic. It helps them respect and honor others’ needs and make people feel welcome in situations that may be stressful and tense.

Good social skills lead to better cooperation, understanding, and affection while still being assertive and able to stick up for oneself.

Teens with good social skills become lifelong good listeners and helpers — and we always will need more of that in the world.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

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In its original inception, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was intended to ensure that insurance companies cover addiction disorders and mental healthcare with an equal amount of coverage as physical disorders. Despite its status as a codified legal requirement, many insurance companies and doctors have been found to skirt around the law’s provisions.

In some cases, this has led to patients with mental health disorders being denied coverage outright, while in other cases they have been required to pay higher out-of-pocket costs. Understandably, patients feel that their needs are not being met and that they are being intentionally left out of the medical institution. To understand the issues, Eva Carlston Academy examines the MHPAEA and discusses its shortcomings.

The Original Motivation Behind the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

The MPHAEA was passed in 2008 with the intention of ensuring that insurance companies would cover psychological and addiction disorders with the same level of coverage as physical disorders. The law states that insurance companies may not set different limits on mental health benefits than they do for physical health benefits.

This was in response to the long-standing issue of insurers discriminating against psychological and addiction disorders. Mental healthcare has historically been treated as less legitimate than physical healthcare, and as a result, insurers have managed to get away with providing less mental health coverage. MHPAEA, therefore, intended to level the playing field and ensure that psychological and addiction disorders were given the same level of care.

The Shortcomings of the MHPAEA

Despite its good intentions, the MHPAEA has fallen short in its implementation. Insurance companies successfully circumvented the law by outright denying payments or otherwise working with out-of-network service providers to disenfranchise customers with psychological and addiction issues. The result of these practices is that patients with mental health disorders are being denied the coverage they need and are being left to fend for themselves.

The MHPAEA has also been found to be lacking in its enforcement mechanisms. The law gives the Department of Labor the authority to enforce the law, but the department has been slow to act. As a result, patients have been left without any recourse when they are denied coverage.

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The Future of the Act

At the beginning of 2022, the United States Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the U.S. Treasury released a joint report discussing the failures of the MHPAEA. In it, the Departments highlighted the lengths to which insurers went to deny customers fair coverage. However, it does go on to outline recent efforts to improve the enforceability of the act.

Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the Departments will now have greater power to go after and fine insurance companies who violate the law. It remains unseen how well these new powers will affect the problem but there is hope on the horizon.

The Bottom Line

Although the MPHAEA was intended to improve access to mental health and addiction services, insurers have been able to work around the law, leaving thousands of Americans without fair healthcare. The United States government is now aware of the problem and is working to better enforce its provisions but, for now, it remains unclear whether anything will change.

Benefits of Group Therapy for Teens

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A group therapy program approaches counseling in a way that is proven to have an impact on teens’ mental health. A study by the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology shows that group therapy is more effective than one-on-one consultations for teenagers and children. Here, Eva Carlston Academy reviews some of the benefits of group therapy for teens.

When teens undergo group therapy, especially ones that experience social isolation, bullying, identity conflicts, and anger management, they’re more likely to emerge with sharpened interpersonal skills. Having a positive peer influence will also help teens feel related to and understood.

There are many benefits to group therapy for teens, including improved confidence and reduced stress. Eva Carlston Academy explains more about the potential group therapy sessions can have on a teenager.

Social Confidence

When young people have the platform to speak and relate to their peers, they’ll gradually develop improved social prowess.

Building confidence by receiving affirmation, validation, and solidarity from people they see as their peers in a group therapy session can help shy teens feel more confident and willing to assert themselves socially.

Communication Skills

Group therapy sessions for teenagers give them the chance to let go of some of the emotions they may be ignoring or bottling up. Unresolved emotional stress causes moodiness, irritability, or defiance; group therapy lets kids navigate their feelings and find ways to express them with people their own age.

Communication skills will also contribute to a student’s personal growth. When teens are able to manage their emotions in a conducive, effective way, they will begin to display traits associated with emotional and social maturity.

Improved Relationships

Group therapy gives teens a chance to nurture their interpersonal relationships, allowing them to better mitigate the ones they encounter outside of a session. If a teenager has a poor quality of social relationships in school, group therapy will allow them to feel as if they’re starting fresh.

Teens can also make friends in group therapy; connecting on a personal level with someone will lead to a deeper friendship.

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Positive Peer Influence

According to statistics, 38% of teens have been pressured into doing something they were fully aware was detrimental to their health. When engaged in group therapy, young people will be surrounded by people who are also working to improve themselves, developing healthier ways to relate and cope.

Having their successes and victories celebrated in a group therapy session allows teenagers to overcome their self-doubts and make better choices — leading to more victories. It creates a positive feedback loop that can be beneficial to the long-term goals of group therapy.


Entering a teenager into group therapy can show benefits beyond the stated goal of working through their surface-level worries. Teens who participate actively in group therapy will enjoy feedback from like-minded people at their own peer level, allowing them to make better choices in school and life. The benefits of group therapy for teens are numerous, and their effects will be felt for the rest of the student’s life.

How Animal-Assisted Therapy is Beneficial for Teens

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It may seem like a modern alternative treatment tool, but animal-assisted therapy has been around for centuries. Eva Carlston Academy reviews below the various benefits of this therapy for teens going through challenges.

In the late 1800s, the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, saw the recovery benefits that small animals provided to people – the animals helped ease anxiety in both adults in children.

Into the 20th century, Sigmund Freud had his own dog, Jofi, participate in psychoanalysis sessions, in part because patients felt more comfortable at first talking through the dog and not directly to Freud.

By the late 1980s, societies were formed that specialized in providing and supporting animal-assisted therapy. There are a variety of companies that provide animal-assisted therapy certification programs.

Many categorize animal-assisted therapy as thinking outside of the medical box. That may be true, but if animals and humans have co-existed for 50,000 years and domestication began around 15,000 years ago, there is no doubt that animal-assisted therapy treatments for teens can be beneficial.

Animal-Assisted Therapy Explained

Animal therapy runs the gamut. While the most common forms used are domesticated dogs and cats in various ways, farm animals such as horses and pigs, as well as marine animals are also used in therapy.
It can be used in tandem with other forms of therapy, such as PT or cognitive behavioral therapy.

There are different levels of therapy and treatment as well. Dogs may visit those of all ages in a hospital. People of all ages could utilize equine therapy on a ranch designed to focus on therapeutic sessions.

Nursing homes, daycares, mental health facilities, and more also use animal therapies regularly. Many of the dogs, cats, and the like involved are trained to perform their specific duty within a therapy session.

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How Animal-Assisted Therapy is Helpful for Teens

Many teens get the same benefits from pet-centered therapy as other age groups. It is designed to bolster well-being and health, and therapies have been shown to do everything from improving mental outlook and cognitive abilities, to easing anxiety and lowering blood pressure.

Doctors and other professionals working with teens who are coping with mental health conditions are increasingly augmenting sessions with animal-assisted therapy techniques.

Pet companionship has been shown consistently to reduce loneliness in teens and offer social support many teens may lack.

On a basic level, animal companionship also help teens who are coping with extreme loss, such as a death of a friend or family, and subsequent grief.

Since many teens with mental health challenges cope with daily anxiety and depression, pet therapies have been shown to raise levels of compassion and empathy. Therapies also trigger the need for and importance of instilling responsibility in teens.

A large number of students have shown other benefits for teens. Animal-assisted therapy often reduces worry or feelings of fear, offers motivation and focus, and may also decrease the levels at which people perceive pain.

Its Benefits May Have Ancient Roots

Several purveyors of experimental therapies subscribe to the Biophilia Hypothesis.

The theory is that people generally have a strong interest in animals and easily attach to them because at one time, man’s survival was somewhat dependent on animals offering signs that a certain area is unsafe.

That’s a good dog!

The Impact of Divorce on Teen Mental Health

According to the CDC, the current rate of divorce in the USA is about 2.3 per 1000. Out of the number of divorced couples, several are likely to include families with one or more teenagers. Eva Carlston Academy reviews that while teens are stereotyped as being apathetic, they are directly affected by divorce and there are serious impacts on their mental health.

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Negative Effects of Divorce

Divorce can have many negative effects on all parties involved but teenagers are especially vulnerable. Experiencing parents who are going through a divorce affects all aspects of a teen’s life, from their mood, relationships with others, and how they perform in school.

Depression And Anxiety

Teenagers who are dealing with their parent’s relationship in turmoil have reported more feelings of depression and anxiety. This stems from feeling a loss of control over the situation and having to deal with parents who may be arguing, angry, or abusive while going through a separation or divorce.

Divorce essentially means that the teenager is losing the family structure in their life, so feelings of anger and sadness can build up and lead to depressive episodes and anxiousness over how to cope.

More Conflict with Interpersonal Relationships

Most teenagers are not likely to reach out for help. Instead, many will lash out or withdraw from friends and family. It can be especially hard to feel a connection with others when all they’re seeing at home is a breakdown of a relationship.

Self-Abusive Behavior

Eva Carlston Academy states that teens who are experiencing divorce are more likely to engage in self-abusive behavior or try riskier things that could potentially put them in danger. This includes experimenting with drugs and alcohol, dangerous sexual activity, and engaging in suicidal ideation and thoughts.

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Coping Mechanisms

While divorce can be difficult, there are also a lot of resources to help teenagers better process a divorce.

Talking with a health professional or therapist. Divorce can result in many bottled-up emotions but having a professional to help work through their feelings can be beneficial to many teenagers. They often will not feel comfortable opening up to their family or friends but having an outlet is vital to healing and overcoming their fear and anxiety.

Find an outlet for stress. Whether it’s journaling, sports, or just finding something that brings joy, overcoming divorce for teenagers means finding a way for them to process their feelings in a healthy way.

When To Seek Help

If a teenager is not responding to treatments such as therapy or stress-reducing activities, it may be time to seek additional help. This is often recommended when a teen is becoming more reclusive or withdrawn.

There are many resources to help teenagers that are experiencing a divorce in their family. If a teen is feeling depressed or suicidal, they can call 988, which is the suicide and crisis lifeline. There are often counselors who can help teenagers at school or within certain national organizations, which are found on the National Institute of Mental Health website.

How a Mental Health Crisis Can Affect Siblings

When teens experience mental health issues, many members of the family may become negatively affected, especially siblings close in age.

Behaviors such as stealing, bullying, dramatic outbursts, lying, and demanding silence or even displaying negative symptoms of their mental health issues or addiction can all negatively affect siblings of the afflicted teen. Although siblings may seem fine on the outside, those witnessing these behaviors are likely under serious stress.

In the following article, Eva Carlston Academy reviews how teens with mental health challenges can affect their siblings and what families can do to be proactive about these situations.

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Impact of Mental Health on Siblings

A teen in crisis can impact siblings in a variety of ways, almost as much as mental health and addiction impacts the teen themselves. Because mental health issues deserve so much care and attention from parents, they can sometimes take parental attention away from siblings. This can result in a sibling feeling left out, forgotten, or even abandoned.

How a mental health crisis affects siblings largely depends upon how old the siblings are when they witness the events. Young children who see violent or aggressive behaviors or exacerbations of mental illness in any negative form are at risk of developing severe anxiety and stress. The younger child may even feel unloved by the teen in crisis.

Children who are exposed to difficult situations within the family will likely require a lot more attention, reassurance, and empathy from parents than children who have never witnessed these types of events. Just the same as a teen experiencing mental health problems, siblings too can experience negative health and emotional consequences from these situations.

Children who have siblings working through addiction or mental health are 63% more likely to report having depressive episodes (at least two weeks) in their lifetime. Sometimes the siblings of teens can take on a bigger sense of responsibility and even begin caring for, protecting, or feeling responsible for the teen experiencing issues.

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Be Proactive

There are a few ways parents can ensure they care for not only the child in crisis, but for their other children as well, such as making sure each child feels loved and heard. This can be accomplished by enrolling children in regular therapy sessions, or even routinely checking in, and having honest discussions about how they feel.

Ways to support other children in the home are to have routine and structure in the family. For example, it helps when children are able to know what to expect when times get hard, and more importantly, that they feel safe. Parents can also involve their children in activities that take place in a setting outside of the home, not only to get them involved in the community but to have a positive, uplifting experience away from a negative environment, especially during crisis episodes.


When one person in a family experiences mental health issues, everyone must act as a team to ensure the happiness and health of all family members. This can be done by getting parents to focus more on family as a whole, especially on siblings who require just as much care and attention as the person in crisis.

Sometimes mental health issues can take precedence over other matters, but learning how to have structure, involve children in activities away from negative behaviors and making sure siblings feel important are all great ways to be proactive.