A Teen’s Guide to Coping with Mental Health

image of teens striking a pose on the sidewalk

A Teen’s Guide to Coping with Mental Health

-Mayah Taylor, MA

Being a teen can be hard. There are many arduous things going on during this cycle of life from worrying about making the grade to changes in your body to coping with the varying emotions inside you. The range of emotions teens can experience while still developing can oftentimes be overwhelming and difficult to manage. These range of emotions tend to present themselves in the form of mood swings, emotional outbursts, sadness, or behaviors intended to distract from uncomfortable or overwhelming feelings.  Examples of common feelings or emotions experienced by teen are, anxiety, sadness, anger, or stress. While these are normal and common emotions to experience, there are times when these emotions may linger and become severe enough to interfere with a teen’s ability to function and navigate through their daily life. It is important for teens to remember that maintaining your mental health is key to being able to face the common emotions faced in daily life. Mental health defined is described as the quality of life and being able to find balance between the many parts of life including family, school, social life, relationships, activities, and spiritual beliefs. Achieving mental wellness can help prevent mental illness which can start to show up in the teen years or younger.


How to Cope

There are many ways of coping with mental health as a teen. Your coping skills will be unique to you and will differ from other teens or peers. It is best to find ways of coping that fits your lifestyle and that you feel are helpful to you. Think about your favorite intramural sport. You have to attend practice to make sure you are physically fit and ready to play come game time. This is the same with mental health. One has to tend to their mental fitness so that when obstacles come one’s way, the hurdles won’t seem as difficult to overcome-you’ll  be ready!


Support Systems

Having a solid support system is key to achieving mental wellness and being able to cope with anything that life throws at you. Your support systems include trusted friends and family members, therapist or school counselor, or your doctor. If you are struggling with your emotions as a teen, you may find it helpful to reach out to someone you trust or feel comfortable with, and share  with them how you are feeling. Reaching out to others can show you that you don’t have to struggle alone.


Find Things You Like to Do to Help You Cope

The most effective coping mechanisms are engaging in things that you like to do. These activities can serve as positive distractions that can help you cope when you are having a tough time and help to replace the negative or uncomfortable emotion(s) you are experiencing. Remember it is important that you choose the activities that YOU like to do and that are helpful to YOU. These activities may be:


  • Hang-out with friends
  • Talking to people
  • Playing Video Games
  • Watching TV or A Movie
  • Playing a Sport
  • Going for a Walk
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Playing with your pet
  • Writing/Journaling
  • Drawing or Coloring
  • Reading



Healthy coping skills are an important part of life and the key to promoting your own mental wellness. Everyone needs positive coping skills in their life to help with daily stressors. Using the tips listed above can help you create your personal toolkit that can help you cope when life gets hectic and overwhelming. If you feel uncertain or unsure of how to find what works for you or you just need help, be sure to reach out to your parents, physician, family member, friend, or even a therapist to assist you. Let us know what you think of this blog by leaving a comment below!  What have been your successes and challenges as a teen coping with mental health?

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