therapy, psychotherapist, mental health counselor, creative counseling, teen counseling

3 Factors Influencing Teen Mental Health

If you have a teen in your household, you may be wondering what makes them so “moody” and “emotional.” I put those terms in quotations because they are labels. Often placed on teenagers as they navigate the roller coaster of their feelings.


A young teenager sitting on the couch looking at her phone while her mother tries to get her attention representing the all encompassing aspects of social media that leads to Anxiety in Teens in Metairie, LA.


But did you know there are very valid reasons that your teen seems so up and down? These reasons are physiological, environmental, and part of the experience of growing up.


As a therapist who works regularly with teens, I am here to break down 3 factors that may influence a teen’s mental health. Factors that cause them to deal with anxiety and other mental health issues.

Brain Development


The amygdala is the emotional center of the brain. Generally, it is fully developed by the teen years. The prefrontal cortex, which controls decision-making, impulse control, and abstract thinking abilities is just starting to develop during adolescence. Further, it won’t finish until roughly age 25 or 26. This means that teenagers feel emotions very strongly.


Teens Lack the Ability to See That Emotional States Are Not Permanent


Additionally, they do not have the cognitive ability to see that difficult emotions are not permanent. As a result, this leads to a greater risk of teen mental health problems. And sadly contributes to the second biggest cause of teen deaths, which is suicide. Furthermore, their physiology can make it very hard to see past those big emotional moments. Plus they do not have the experience of knowing that things get better. Not having a fully developed prefrontal cortex limits a teen. It limits their ability to make fully formed decisions about how to respond to their amygdala’s power.     


Teen sitting at their computer while also on their phone representing the impact social media has on teen mental health. Therapy for Teens with Anxiety can help teach appropriate coping skills.

Social Media


My teen years were hard enough without social media! The things that I struggled with: negative body image, fear of what people might think and say about me, social anxiety, bullying, and so much more. These would have been amplified under the microscope of social media. This is what teens are dealing with right now!


Unrealistic Beauty Standards That Increase Anxiety


Social media heavily promotes unrealistic beauty standards. All through advertisements that are targeted at vulnerable populations, like teens with anxiety. With social media, teens have constant access to receiving comments, likes, and private messages. Things that can influence how teens perceive themselves and others.


Scrolling on Social Media is Addictive and Anxiety Inducing


In addition, scrolling through social media has also been shown to light up the same sensors in the brain as gambling does. Thus demonstrating how addictive it actually is. In fact, these factors are especially damaging to teens whose brains are developmentally more emotional than rational. It’s easy to say “don’t let your teen have an Instagram”.


However, social media is such a massive fixture in our culture now. Even if your teen doesn’t have access, others in their circle do. As a result, they will still be affected by it in some way. Teens don’t necessarily need to not have access. But they need to understand the implications it can have on their mental health. Your teen may benefit from having a space to process all of the challenges that social media presents. 



Lastly, another factor that influences teen mental health is all of those amazing firsts that teens experience. First dates, first kisses, first relationships, and first heartbreaks. So many highs and so many opportunities for very low lows. Not to mention teens are having some of their first experiences with identity development. They are trying to figure out who they are and what they believe in. And this may differ from those around them at school or at home.


All Three Factors Together Create the Perfect Storm


These firsts in combination with the other two factors, brain development, and social media, create the perfect storm for teenage mental health problems. The presence of social media may create more insecurity about what firsts they are or are not experiencing in comparison to others. In addition, it may give them too much access to communicate with romantic interests or friends. Further, it may prevent the development of self-awareness due to the hyper-awareness of others. As discussed previously, their limited brain development can hinder their ability to see that the difficult emotions that come from so many firsts can and will get better. 


A group of happy teens laughing and having fun together representing the positive growth that can come with Therapy for Teens with Anxiety in Metairie, LA.


Therapy for Teens Can Help Work Towards Positive Emotions


So even though these factors can really impact your teen’s mental health, the good news is that Therapy for Teens with Anxiety is a great opportunity for your teen to work towards more positive emotions. Having the safety and privacy of speaking to a counselor is an effective way for teens to process all of those difficult factors that bring them down and gain the tools for how to respond to them better.


Counseling won’t change your child’s brain development, the presence of social media, or keep those emotional firsts from happening However, building trust with an objective adult may reduce the emotional toll that all of these factors bring. I hope to be able to create that safe space for your teen!


Begin Therapy for Teens with Anxiety in Metairie, LA Today!

If your teen is struggling with anxiety and its impacting their mental health, Therapy for Teens with Anxiety at Creative Counseling and Wellness is here to help. As a Therapist, I have both personal and professional experience with these issues and am prepared to walk this journey of self-discovery with your teen. Follow the steps below to get started. Through ownership, balance, and practice, your teen can own the stage and the stage called life!


Other Mental Health Services Offered at Creative Counseling and Wellness

I specialize in working with teens and their families. I work with a wide variety of individuals such as: LGBTQ+ Teens, Teens with Anxiety, Theater Teens, Creative/Artistic Teens, Teens Questioning Gender Identity, High Achieving Teens, Teens with Social Anxiety, and Teens Struggling with Perfectionism. My own own life and experience gives me a unique perspective that lends itself to working with teens especially. Reach out today!

3 thoughts on “3 Factors Influencing Teen Mental Health”

  1. Pingback: Understanding Emotional Intelligence in Teens in Metairie, LA

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