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What Does It Mean to Be a “Normal” Teenager?

Since the beginning of time, people have been marginalized, mocked and even persecuted for being different than ‘normal’. At the same time, throughout history, the definition of ‘normal’ has evolved, constantly changing with each generation. But, the truth is, that we are all different and we all say and do things that are considered ‘abnormal’. So, who decides what is normal and what is not? Take a closer look at how the meaning of normal has changed and our mission to make prioritizing mental health a new kind of normal. 

Labeling Abnormal Teenage Behavior

The teenage years are notoriously difficult. Changing hormones, complex social pyramids, academic pressures, and more come together to make these years particularly challenging. Teens often become moody, forgetful, exhausted, and even the most healthy teens can show signs of depression. 

Differentiating between normal teen behavior and mental illness, like depression is hard because healthy teens often exhibit symtpoms of depression. However, a healthy teen will be able to find joy in activities and a depressed teen will lose interest in their activities and passions. Depression in teens can make a teen more irritable and angry and less sad than depression in adults. 

However, we need to be careful to label a teen’s mental health. Teens are in their formative years and what (and who) we tell them they are matters. Most adults could be categorized as having some form of mental illness to some degree. From minor bouts of anxiety to more chronic mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, we are all different in our own way. It’s important to acknowledge your teen’s mental illness is not who they are, but rather, a challenge to overcome with your help and the help of mental professionals. 

Understanding Mental Illness in Teens

The first step to understanding mental illness in teens is awareness. Once a teen and their support network is made aware of mental health challenges, we can seek to make positive changes such as finding professional help, self-monitoring our minds and bodies to recognize triggers, regulating sleep, monitoring nutrition, and more. 

As you and your teen work together to overcome mental illness, you will create an atmosphere of safety and mental health awareness. With opennness and acceptance, your teen will more willingly share their struggles which, ultimately, works to defy the stigma associated with mental health. 

Educating a New Generation about Mental Health

As you and your family cultivate a culture of transparency, you will find that your larger community becomes more open to talking about their mental health, either individually or collectively. This will lead others to take a more vested in interest in mental health and create a desire in some to learn more about how our minds work. 

If we live in fear of the stigma of mental health, we will never overcome it. Awareness and education are the keys to healing, empowering a new generation to make what was once considered a weakness into a strength. 

Part of this process is confronting those who label others as ‘different’. The truth is that they simply lack education. Once your teen can face their mental health, they can educate others about it – and help a lot of people along the way. 

A New Normal in Teen Mental Health

WIth education comes understanding. Through education and awareness, we can understand our mental health, and we can understand the mental health of others. In fact, the more scientists learn about the human mind and behaviors, the more “abnormal” is the new normal. 

This begs the question once again, “What is normal?” Depending on the people around us, normal can be stigma and ignorance and criticism of things they don’t understand. Or it can be people like us, who are creating a new normal of people who are educated, compassionate, and empathetic of all people and all conditions. Normal is what we are willing to accept. Normal is what we are willing to change, and what we are willing to inspire others to change, too.

Normal is realizing that labels can have a purpose: to help us become healthier. Normal realizes that we can choose not to wear the negative labels that others try to place on us. That we have control over stigma and bullying and all of the abnormal things society tries to inflict upon us. Normal is finding mental health and living it.

Choose to redefine normal by finding mental health. Call Embark Behavioral Health at 866-479-3050 today. Change the narrative and change your life. 

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Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health is a leading network of outpatient centers and residential programs offering premier mental health treatment for preteens, teens, and young adults. Dedicated to its big mission of reversing the trends of teen and young adult anxiety, depression, and suicide by 2028, Embark offers a robust continuum of care with different levels of service and programming; has a deep legacy of over 25 years serving youths; works with families to adjust treatment in real time to improve results; treats the entire family using an evidence-supported approach; and offers the highest levels of quality care and safety standards. For more information about Embark or its treatment programs, including virtual services, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), therapeutic day treatment programs, also known as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), residential treatment, and outdoor therapy, visit embarkbh.com.