Mental Health
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Children and adolescents commonly experience stressful or traumatic events as they grow up. Many young people feel worried or anxious about a big test they have to take at school or about a fight they have with their friends. On the other hand, mental disorders can lead to pervasive and ongoing symptoms that have the potential to impact children’s and adolescents’ schoolwork, friendships, sleeping or eating habits, and interests in normal activities.

Mental disorders can lead to changes in a person’s emotions, thoughts and/or behaviors. Symptoms of mental disorders can vary greatly and affect different aspects of a teen’s thinking, personal habits, personality, emotions, behavior and/or social relationships, according to Mental Health America (MHA).

Risk Factors

Some factors increase a child’s or teen’s risk of developing a mental disorder. In 2012, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) paper, “Risks to Mental Health: An Overview of Vulnerabilities and Risk Factors,” outlined cultural, community, social, family and individual factors in a variety of settings (e.g., home, family, school, work, community, etc.) that can increase a person’s susceptibility for developing a mental illness at some point in his or her lifespan.

The following factors can increase the risk for having mental health problems:

  • Cultural: Low socioeconomic status, adverse learning environments, media influences, discrimination, social inequalities and social exclusion
  • Social: Bullying and other difficulties at school, and peer pressure
  • Community: Poor housing and living conditions, job insecurity and unemployment
  • Family: Family violence or conflict, parental loss, low sense of connection to school or other learning environments, trauma, abuse or other maltreatment, and maternal substance use during pregnancy
  • Individual: Genetic vulnerability, alcohol and/or drug use, substance abuse, low self-esteem, malnutrition or poor appetite, anti-social behavior and poor physical health

Warning Signs

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), some of the warning signs that children, adolescents and young adults may be experiencing symptoms of mental disorders include:

  • Having problems sleeping
  • Poor appetite
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Complaining about feeling sick or having stomachaches
  • Frequent anger outbursts or temper tantrums (younger children)
  • Drinking alcohol and/or using drugs
  • Changes in performance at school
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive fears, anxiety and worry
  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Negative mood
  • Anger and/or irritability
  • Thoughts of death/suicide
  • Self-harming behaviors (e.g., cutting)
  • Difficulty managing responsibilities at home or school
  • Inability to cope with daily activities and problems
  • Withdraw or isolate from friends and/or social activities
  • Avoid social interactions
  • Preoccupation with excessive exercise or dieting
  • Hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t really there (hallucinations)
  • Self-destructive behaviors

Whether your teen is drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs, or is exhibiting changes in his or her normal behavior, it is important for parents to recognize that even subtle changes (e.g., irritability) may indicate that their child or teen needs help. Young people who develop a mental disorder can exhibit reckless, self-destructive and dangerous behaviors that have the potential to harm themselves or other people. Children and teens who experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors may also need immediate mental health help, so it is important to seek professional assistance if their symptoms start to become unmanageable.

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Why Choose Sovereign Health’s Mental Health Treatment Centers?

Sovereign Health’s mental health treatment centers provide evidence-based treatments, along with complementary and experiential treatments and activities such as neurofeedback. Our mental health inpatient treatment centers offer holistic treatment programs for mental health conditions.

At Rancho San Diego’s residential mental health facilities, adolescents ages 12 to 17 receive comprehensive behavioral treatment programs for mental disorders and related issues.

A combination of individual and group therapy is utilized to offer teens the peer support they need to be successful in treatment and recovery. At Rancho San Diego, individual therapy is provided one to two times per week. We offer diverse treatment modalities such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Solution focused therapy (SFT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills
  • Anger management
  • Stress reduction skills
  • Grief counseling
  • Neurofeedback

Our rehab for mental illness at Rancho San Diego also offers group therapy, and students participate in three to six groups each day. Some of the group topics include:

  • Process groups
  • Meditation
  • DBT skill building
  • Optional 12-step groups
  • SMART Recovery (non-12 step groups)
  • Equine therapy
  • Art activities
  • Music therapy and activities
  • Stress reduction skills
  • Skill building (e.g., to deal with stress and anger)
  • Medication management
  • Symptom management
  • Exercise and yoga

Teens who receive proper mental health treatment can learn effective ways to deal with their anger and stress, and manage their symptoms so they can overcome mental health conditions and live happy, productive and meaningful lives. Contact us about mental health help at our 24/7 helpline to learn more about our mental health treatment program for adolescents at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego.

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Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

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"There was more than just therapy. There were life skills that were taught and everyone here cared genuinely." - Jack