Teenage Mental Health Crisis: How To Get Your Teen Back On Track

hypnotherapy for teenage mental health problems

Teenage mental health issues have reached crisis point. Anxiety, depression, self-harming, and anger issues have all increased since the pandemic.

Traditional counselling, such as that offered in schools, is failing to make an impact on kids’ wellbeing. There’s been a rise in incidents of school violence, diagnoses of ADHD and autism, and the amount of kids who simply can’t cope with the school system any more.

Indeed, over the last few years I’ve seen a massive spike in the number of kids and teens suffering from anxiety disorders like OCD, panic attacks, and emetophobia (fear of being sick). Not to mention self harm and suicide ideation.

So what can hypnotherapy offer that school counselling or CBT can’t?

In this post we’ll explore the lasting impact the pandemic has had on teenage mental health and what can be done about it. We’ll also look at the emerging evidence that shows the impact of screen addiction and social media on teenage mental health. And we’ll look at ways hypnotherapy can be used to help kids and teens manage anger, anxiety, and depression to help them get their lives back on track.

But first, a personal story…

Why my son quit upper school

My son was 9 1/2 when Covid hit. He was doing well at primary school and was looking forward to transitioning with his friends to Ramsey Academy in Halstead in a year or so. Then the world turned upside down.

During the early weeks of the first lockdown my son adjusted well to learning online. But the loss of real connections with his mates eventually took its toll. He felt lonely and isolated, especially if he fell out with his mates. (It’s so much harder to make up via a screen, it seems).

When the first lockdown ended he returned to primary school in a changed world. Social distancing and the ritual of hand-washing seemed more important than the actual lessons. As lockdowns continued through 2020 and 2021 it made for a sad and difficult ending to what had been a really good school for him.

He lasted just 10 weeks at Ramsey Academy before we decided to de-register him from the school system. His stress levels were through the roof. He was having panic attacks and had turned to comfort eating as a way to manage his feelings. He was also diagnosed with ADHD.

The change from a small village primary school to an upper school (now called an academy) with a pandemic sandwiched in between proved too much for him to cope with. And he’s not alone…

The rise in anger and anxiety disorders in kids and teens

After such a seismic event it’s no wonder we’re still suffering the consequences.

The latest stats, as reported in the Guardian, tell us that thousands of kids have dropped out of school since Covid and they haven’t returned. (1)

Like my son, they have adapted to home schooling to varying degrees of success – or not at all. These so-called ‘ghost children’ suffer a range of psychological disorders (2) such as…

  • Raised levels of general anxiety (including social anxiety)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD)
  • Panic disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Self-harming
  • Eating disorders
  • ADHD and general inability to concentrate
  • Autism
  • Anger and depression

But teenage mental health issues are not solely the result of the pandemic…

How screen addiction kills your kid’s ability to concentrate

Another factor in teenage mental health (and kids in general) is the addictive use of screens…

There’s no escaping the fact that mobile phones are the new addiction. Just like in the 70s when I grew up and everyone were smoking cigarettes, you can’t go anywhere these days without a phone. And kids and teens are particularly vulnerable to what they watch because their brains are still forming.

I partly blame kids’ inability to concentrate (and the increase in ADHD) on things like YouTube and TikTok. If you’re bored after 5 seconds of a video it’s too easy to choose another more exciting one. There’s no ‘stickability’ anymore. It’s too easy to say, ‘next, please!’ But this has led to a massive deterioration in our ability to pay attention to anything for more than a few seconds.

RELATED CONTENT: See my post on how Big Tech and Social Media have stolen your ability to concentrate

So it’s no wonder that schools have started banning mobile phones. Kids can’t concentrate anymore. And not only that, it’s a well-known fact that mobile phones are a platform for online abuse and bullying. (3)

No wonder our teens are struggling.

Is social media toxic for teens?

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok obviously provide a chance for people of all ages to stay in touch and share their stories – meeting a need for emotional connection – but the platforms themselves don’t seem interested in the mental health and wellbeing of its users.

Social media is rife with fast-paced hypnotizing videos of self harm, suicidal ideation, eating disorders and so called ‘challenge’ videos – not to mention pornography. Our kids are being thrust into a complex and dangerous adult world way before they are ready.

Melania Dawes, chief exec of Ofcom – the online regulator – says that harmful content has become normalised online. She is proposing banning social media sites for under 18s if they fail to comply with new online safety rules. (4)

So, in answer to the question, ‘Is social media toxic for teens?’ the short answer is yes, especially for more vulnerable teens whose emotional needs are not met in other ways. When we are reliant on tech to meet our needs we’re in a dangerous position.

RELATED CONTENT: Help your teen’s mental health right now! Do an emotional needs audit with them

Why kids need structure, routine and boundaries

For decades, psychologists have known about the importance of boundaries for children. Kids feel safer when they know what’s going on and what the ‘rules’ are.

There is no doubt that the huge disruption to daily routines caused by the pandemic has left a lasting impression on vast numbers of kids and adolescents. Covid tore up the rules of life, or the way we had been living it. Emotional needs went unmet, resulting in a massive surge in anxiety in all age groups.

Just imagine what it’s like if a child or teen doesn’t feel safe anymore (even in their own home). Or if they can no longer see friends or family members such as grandparents.

The loss of meaningful connections to others can leave us feeling very isolated. Loneliness is, in itself, a killer, especially for more vulnerable people. (5)

One wonders if we can ever return to a more ‘normal’ existence, where our kids were more settled and just getting on with life. Will genuine laughter and happiness ever return? Can anything be done to improve teenage mental health?

This is where I believe hypnotherapy plays a pivotol role in getting our teens back on track.

Get your teen’s anxiety levels under control with this hypnosis download…

teenage mental health: hypnosis download for teenage anxiety

How hypnotherapy can improve teenage mental health

Since the pandemic I’ve seen a fourfold increase in teenage patients suffering the conditions we’ve been talking about.

Counselling (be it in school or otherwise) has its place. We all need to tell and share our stories. But it’s not going to address the effects of trauma and PTSD. Talking about things won’t change trauma patterns in the brain.

And trying to stop obsessive hand washing and fears about contamination by changing your thoughts won’t work either. OCD is more of an emotional disorder rather than a problem with thinking.

This is where hypnotherapy comes to the fore…

With hypnotherapy we work directly with the emotional/instinctive part of the brain (the part that gets triggered before the thinking part).

By turning off emotional memory patterns of trauma, you don’t feel anxious any more. The obsessive thoughts stop naturally. There’s no longer the need for compulsive rituals or other ways to manage emotions (such as self-harming) because the emotions get switched off at a subconscious level.

RELATED CONTENT: How hypnotherapy treats PTSD

Teenage mental health: summary

If your teen’s mental health has suffered since the pandemic I want to reassure you that things can improve. With the right help your child can emerge from the ashes of Covid and reclaim their place in the world.

A trusting and safe therapeutic relationship can go a long way to help your teen meet their emotional needs and, consequently, feel so much better about themselves. And if the therapist skillfully uses hypnosis (sometimes called guided imagery) then all’s the better.

Remember, with hypnosis we’re talking about using our optimal programming state (the REM state). This is where lasting change takes place.

Hypnotic techniques can help your teen manage their anxiety, prevent anger outbursts, stop self-harming, and break free from the OCD bully. And it will certainly lay the ghosts of trauma to rest as well as improve concentration.

As for my son? Well, he’s doing fine. We all took a while to adjust to home education but his anxiety levels have come way down. He’s maintained good friendships and is looking forward to attending a programme for home-schooled kids run by West Suffolk College later this year. Things are looking up.

I’d love to hear from you if your teenage son or daughter is struggling with a mental health issue. Remember, I offer all new clients a Free Discovery Session.

If you’d like to comment on this post please do so in the space below. Or if you’d like to contact me privately email me here.

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(1) School absences caused by anxiety https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/apr/23/rise-in-school-absences-since-covid-driven-by-anxiety-and-lack-of-support-say-english-councils

(2) Teenage mental health deterioration since the pandemic https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2023-09-21-young-people-s-mental-health-deteriorated-greater-rate-during-pandemic-major-new#:~:text=The%20findings%2C%20part%20of%20the,worsening%20general%20mental%20well%2Dbeing.

(3) Why some schools are banning mobile phones https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2024/02/19/mobile-phones-in-schools-are-they-being-banned/

(4) New Ofcom rules about online content and social media use in kids and teens https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/czrx13jj9p3o

(5) Loneliness is a killer. Find out why: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201901/can-you-die-loneliness

N.B. The featured image for this post is by Elyas Pasban. Thanks Elyas!

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