Supporting Teen Mental Health Over The Summer

As the school year comes to a close and summer break begins, parents often find themselves navigating a new set of challenges when it comes to supporting their teenagers, especially in terms of mental health. With the freedom and lack of structure summer brings, often there comes potential for increased stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues for teens. However, with the right support and guidance, parents can play a crucial role in helping their teens have a healthy and fulfilling summer. Here are some tips from the Summit team to help you support your teen’s mental health during the summer months.

Encourage Open Communication:

Maintaining open lines of communication with your teen is essential year-round, but it becomes especially important during the summer when routines may be disrupted. Encourage your teen to talk about their feelings and experiences, and be sure to listen without judgment. Let them know that you are there to support them no matter what challenges they may be facing.

Help Them Maintain a Routine:

While summer often brings a break from the rigidity of the school schedule, it’s important for your family to maintain some level of routine to support everyone’s mental well-being. Encourage your teen to establish a daily routine that includes regular mealtimes, exercise, and sufficient sleep. This can help provide a sense of stability and control, which is important for managing stress and anxiety.

Support Healthy Habits:

Physical health and mental health are closely linked, so it’s important to support your teen in maintaining healthy habits over the summer. Encourage them to engage in regular exercise, eat nutritious foods, and get plenty of sleep. Avoidance of excessive screen time and encouraging outdoor activities can also contribute to their overall well-being.

Get outside!

Time outdoors can be an amazing way for the whole family to focus on improving mental health together. Not only does spending time outdoors allow teens to get fresh air and encourage exercise, it also is a way to practice mindfulness as you connect to nature. For those teens who have graduated from Summit, it will remind them of a positive and productive time in their lives. 

Foster Connection:

Summer can sometimes be a lonely time for teens, especially if their friends are away or busy with other activities. Encourage your teen to stay connected with friends and loved ones through social outings, phone calls, or video chats. Consider hosting small gatherings or outings with their friends to help them stay connected and combat feelings of isolation.

Monitor Screen Time and Social Media Use:

While technology can be a valuable tool for staying connected, excessive screen time and social media use can have negative effects on teen mental health. Help your teen find a healthy balance by setting limits on screen time and encouraging offline activities. Monitor their social media use and be aware of any signs of cyberbullying or other online stressors.

Be Mindful of Warning Signs:

Finally, be mindful of any warning signs that your teen may be struggling with their mental health. These can include changes in behavior, mood swings, withdrawal from activities they used to enjoy, or changes in sleeping or eating habits. If you notice any concerning signs, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help. A program like Summit Achievement – a residential treatment program in New England for struggling teens – can be a good intervention for young people with anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, or other harmful behaviors. 

Summer should be a time of relaxation and enjoyment for teens, but it can also bring unique challenges for their mental health. By providing support, fostering open communication, and encouraging healthy habits, parents can help their teens navigate the ups and downs of summer while prioritizing their mental well-being. With the right support system in place, teens can make the most of their summer break and emerge stronger and more resilient as they prepare for the challenges ahead.

To learn more about Summit Achievement or our short-term therapeutic boarding school Summit Traverse, contact Admissions today.