Dealing with the tricky teenage years: How a little bit of help can help

High school Staying connected

Do you remember your teenage years? The all-consuming emotional rollercoaster of friendships, fitting in, navigating relationships, self-doubt, peer pressure, establishing your identity and independence all the while trying to balance study and life.

And then add the complexities of today’s online world – it’s little wonder teenagers (and their parents) can feel like they’re carrying an ever-increasing mental load.

But take some comfort in knowing there are places you can turn to for help – especially if your teen isn’t opening up to you or you feel like you don’t know how to help them.

Queensland has a lot of great services that can help parents to support kids and teens with various challenges in life, particularly if they’re struggling with expectations and carrying the mental load.

headspace run a range of programs and services tailored to helping 12-25 year-olds right across the country.

We spoke to the centre at Mount Isa who told us about the great work they’re doing with young people in their area.

Here’s a quick Q&A about the amazing work they do.

Q: What kind of services does headspace Mount Isa offer?

A: When you step into headspace, you can be seeing a GP for physical health or a mental health treatment plan, a Care Coordinator for initial care coordinating and school support, a Dietitian for your dietary needs, an Exercise Physiologist for a fitness program, a Social Worker for support and counselling including a Mental Health Clinician, Vocational Specialists for resumes, work and study. We have co-located service providers that also help at headspace with alcohol and other drug issues and clients with homelessness issues.

Q. Teens and young people have a lot going on in life. Can you give us some examples of things that can weigh on their minds and add to their ‘mental load’?

A. It’s a number of overlapping factors, like bullying, racial and or gender discrimination, change of friendship, domestic violence exposure or experienced, serious illness or physical injury; use and experimentation of drugs and alcohol; their current circumstances – stress from school or work, money problems or difficult personal relationships; problems within the family; abuse, neglect, their coping skills or thinking style; death or a significant loss or trauma etc.

Q: How important is it for young people to get things off their chest and get some help or support if they’re dealing with challenges in life?

A: They’re going through a huge period of growth and change so it’s very important to talk about the different aspects of their life. Keep communication open and be available; talk openly and honestly with them and let them know that you’re concerned; reassure them that you’ll be there for them and ask what they need from you. Help find an appropriate service such as headspace and support them in attending. Getting help doesn’t always mean sitting on a couch with a psychologist or taking medication, it can also mean seeing a GP to help you with stuff.

Q: What are some of the great things about working with young people?

A: Teens and young people are so open and full of vitality. Their goals and aspirations are inspiring, and their resilience and persistence is nothing short of courageous. Young people are really fun to work with! Often young people have a lot of energy so they keep you on your toes. It’s great to work with young people as so often you can see great changes and real outcomes.

A big thank you to headspace Mount Isa for participating in our Talking Families Q&A!

Find your local headspace or other support services for teens and parents of teens at oneplace.

Last Updated: 25 June 2020