PODCAST: More teens report poor mental health. Here’s what parents can do to help

Being a teen or preteen was never easy, and now there’s a concerning rise of young people in...
Being a teen or preteen was never easy, and now there’s a concerning rise of young people in crisis.(Megan Ramones)
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 12:00 PM HST|Updated: May. 12, 2023 at 3:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - May is Mental Health Awareness month and experts are sounding the alarm on the importance of mental wellbeing, especially in youth.

Being a teen or preteen was never easy, and now there’s a concerning rise of young people in crisis.

Data released by the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavioral Survey this spring reveals within the past decade, scores of students reported poor mental health and increased suicidal thoughts.

[RELATED: Despite ‘close-to-normal’ school year, mental health fallout from pandemic remains]

In 2021 alone, nearly 60% of female students reported feeling persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Out of that number, 25% made a suicide plan.

Rates are up in boys, too, but about half as many are affected.

Among students, those who identify as LGBTQ+ reported feeling hopeless at a higher rate than of their peers with more than 20% attempting to commit suicide.

If you or someone you know is in a crisis or in need of emotional support, call or text 988.

As a parent, it can be difficult trying to start a conversation with your teen or preteen.

But experts say it’s a crucial time to start.

We spoke with Dr. Charmain Jackman, an award-winning licensed therapist and Founder of InnoPsych, who highlights the current state of mental health in youth and explains why it’s important for parents and caregivers to talk to their kids about emotional wellbeing.

She also provides tips and resources that parents use to open up more meaningful conversations as well as some warning signs or symptoms to look out to recognize if their child is struggling.

Her message to parents?

“Go and have the conversation. Recognize it’s going to take more than one conversation to get rid of the awkwardness you may have... and then the next thing I encourage you to do is when they share with you, just listen. Take it in.”

Mental Health Resources

Free online resources:

Local mental health services and programs:

  • For those who struggle with mental illness or lives with a loved one who suffers from mental illness, learn more about support groups at Hawaii’s National Alliance for Mental Illness here.
  • Become a mental health advocate with Mental Health America of Hawaii. Click here for more information.
  • To learn more about the state Department of Health’s mental health services and programs, click here.
  • For details on Hawaii Pacific Health’s mental health services, click here.
  • Learn more about telehealth service for public students called Hazel Health, a state Department of Health contractor, which aims to provide short-term virtual therapy to help students cope with what they’re feeling.

If in crisis or in need of emotional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to:

  • Crisis Text Line by texting ALOHA to 741741
  • Hawaii CARES by calling 808-832-3100 for Oahu and 1-800-753-6879 for Neighbor Islands.
  • NAMI Helpline by texting NAMI to 741741 or calling 800-950-6264
  • If you are a veteran in a crisis, text 838255 or call 988 and press “1″. Click here for more mental health resources for veterans.
  • For LGBTQ youth in need of support, call the Trevor Helpline at 1-866-488-7386) or text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-120
  • If you are interested in learning more about school-based well-being and mental health support and services, reach out to your school’s main office or contact: Hawaii Keiki Hotline at (844) 436-3888 (toll-free) to access assistance.
  • For the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, call 988.

This is a growing list of resources. If you know of a local mental health service that is not listed, please email megan.ramones@hawaiinewsnow.com.


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