Teen Mental Health Issues: Feeding the Mind and Body

Teen mental health issues can create many overwhelming struggles in your teen’s life. As a parent it can be difficult to know exactly what your child may need. Sometimes it can be a helpless feeling not being able to ease your teen’s struggle. However, there are ways that you can help your teen prioritize their health and set themselves up for better coping. Healthy nutrition is an important part of mental health. By taking care of one’s body and the nutrition that is put into the body, teens are setting themselves up for a healthier physical and mental health.  

Food and Mood: The Connection

Food impacts mood from many different angles. Ways you probably have never even considered. Here is a brief breakdown of how what your teen feeds their bodies matters:

  • Healthy fats have been proven to have mental health benefits: polyunsaturated fat sources (i.e.- flaxseed, fish, and olive oil) are beneficial in treatment and prevention of depression
  • Flavonoids (nutrients found in fruits and veggies) have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects—this contributes to the role the brain has in learning and memory
  • An overall healthy diet (including: high levels of fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, and fish) is protective against depression risk
  • Intuitive eating practices (being mindful, listening to hunger signals, respecting one’s body, etc.) has been shown to positively impact symptoms of depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and poor self-esteem

Help Your Teen Get Healthy

Getting a teen to enjoy healthy foods may be a struggle at times. Teen mental health issues are something we often think may never affect our child or family. However, that is not really the case. Even if your child does not struggle with teen mental health issues, you should still enforce preventative measures to ensure they life a happy and healthy life. Here are 5 simple ways to get your household healthy:

  1. Stock the kitchen with healthy foods. If healthy foods are readily available for your teen, this is the first step for success. You should not keep a supply of junk foods to tempt them either.
  2. Be a good role model. Your teen is always looking to you as an influencer. If you practice eating healthy and mindful, they are more likely to jump onboard with the idea.
  3. Help build positive body image. Help encourage your teen and build their confidence. Commend them on their efforts to make nutritious choices. Avoid talking negatively about your own body. This can wear off on them.
  4. Breakfast! Breakfast! Breakfast! Encourage your teen to eat the most important meal of the day to get their metabolism moving.
  5. Eat together as a family. Make good choices as a family. Eat and enjoy each others company. Slowing down and focusing on what we put into our bodies makes it easier to make healthy choices.

Elevations RTC can help

Elevations RTC is a program for adolescents ages 13-18. Elevations provides an intensive, highly professional, therapeutic program. The program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to address teen’s struggles from every angle. The program includes college preparatory academics, therapeutic recreation activities, and individual, family and group psychotherapy. Coping skills, communication skills, and incorporation of healthy activities is a key part of this program. Elevations gives students the tools they need to lead healthy, happy lives. Let us help your family today!

Contact us at 801-773-0200.