Youth mental health and wellness

Many children and teens experience mental health, emotional wellness, and substance use issues. These struggles are common, and most are treatable. But it’s hard for parents to know when and how to help, and where to find support. Please know that you’re not alone — and neither is your child. We’re here for you.


Supporting your child's mental health

Youth mental health

Youth mental health resources

Your child’s mental health affects how they think, feel, and act. And it influences how they learn and relate to the world around them. Parents are encouraged to support, talk about, and advocate for their kids’ mental health the same way they do for their physical health. We’re here to empower you to do that. 

Talking to kids about mental health

Learn how to start a conversation about mental health or substance use with your child. 

There’s no single cause of any mental health condition. It’s a combination of genetics, brain chemistry, family history, and social and environmental dynamics. Physical health factors — including nutrition and sleep — can also play a role. It’s important to understand that mental health conditions in young people are common and treatable . And to talk with your child about mental health and substance use early and often.

These common experiences can sometimes trigger mental health struggles — or make current ones worse. But just because your child experiences these struggles doesn’t mean they have a mental health condition.

  • Grief and loss
  • Trauma, abuse, and violence
  • Bullying
  • Academic pressures
  • Questions about sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Issues with body image or self-esteem
  • Social media and peer pressure
  • Family issues like divorce, a parent losing their job, etc.
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Racism and discrimination 
  • Political and civil unrest
  • Global crises like climate change, conflict, and the COVID-19 pandemic

You know your child best. Knowing the warning signs for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions is important. It can help you and your child’s care team catch problems early — before they become more serious. 
  • Persistent sadness that lasts 2 weeks or more
  • Feeling overly fearful, anxious, or worried
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding social interactions
  • Talking about self-harm, harming others, or suicide
  • Extreme anger or irritability
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior, or personality
  • Major changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Falling behind in school or earning lower grades

Reach out to your child’s doctor if these feelings or behaviors cause severe distress for longer than a few weeks. If your child ever talks about wanting to hurt themselves, seek help immediately.1 You or your child can call or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7, 365 days a year. Please follow up with your child’s doctor afterward for additional support.

Unsure about symptoms? Take a mental health or substance use screening.

Growing up is never easy. And sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between normal challenges and signs of something more serious. Here are some tools that can help:

Parent talking to their teenage child

Call us to discuss care options for your child. 

Teen wearing headphones and sitting at computer under blue light

Free video series on mental health

Learn how to better manage your mental health and support your friends. 

Parent talking with their child

Understanding mental health in young people

Get to know your kids better with tips for listening and talking about self-care.

2 teens looking at a smartphone

Self-care and wellness apps

Explore apps that you or your kids can use to build resilience, reduce stress, and sleep better.


1If you believe you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. For the complete definition of an emergency medical condition, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or other coverage documents. 

 The mental health apps are value-added services that are not covered under your health plan benefits and are not subject to the terms set forth in your Evidence of Coverage or other plan documents. These services may be discontinued at any time without notice.