Looking after teenagers’ mental health

Find out about signs that your child may need help, how to help them and services you can access.

Everyone can feel sad, angry or upset sometimes. If your child feels like this most of the time, they may need help.

Signs that your child needs help

Your child may need help are if they:

  • seem down, teary and unmotivated
  • have sudden changes in behaviour or mood
  • have trouble eating or sleeping
  • aren’t doing as well as usual at school
  • are refusing to go to school, TAFE or work
  • are avoiding friends or social contact
  • complain of pain often, for example, headache, stomach ache or backache
  • are exhibiting antisocial behaviour, such as missing school, getting in trouble with the police, fighting or stealing
  • are anxious about weight or physical appearance, losing weight or failing to gain weight as they grow.

Find out more about mental health in pre-teens and teenagers on the Raising Children website.

Helping your child

If you notice your child’s mood or behaviour changes, there are things you can do to help.

Getting enough sleep, eating well and being active can help your child’s mental health. Having safe and secure relationships can also help. This includes relationships with parents or care givers and extended family.

You can:

  • encourage them to talk about their feelings
  • acknowledge it’s ok to feel worried, stressed or sad sometimes
  • make time to talk to them and listen to what they’re saying
  • enjoy time with them and do activities together, such as a shopping trip, walking the dog or going for a drive 
  • encourage hobbies and activities they like to do, such as music, sport or something creative
  • support them when something is bothering them and work with them to find a solution.

Find out more about mental health in pre-teens and teenagers on the Raising Children website.

Getting help

Services that can help your child

You can get professional help for your child’s mental health through:

  • your child’s teacher
  • school counsellors
  • your GP
  • a psychologist or counsellor
  • a mental health social worker
  • your community health centre
  • your local mental health service.

There are services that offer support and advice to teenagers. These links will take you away from myGov.

  • Kids helpline

    Your child can call the Kids Helpline to talk to a counsellor any time, for any reason.
  • Headspace

    12 to 25 year olds can get help online, over the phone and in person at headspace centres.
  • Reach Out

    Chat to young people going through similar things in the forums and get online counselling support.
  • Beyond Blue

    Free 24/7 mental health support for people affected by anxiety, depression and suicide.
  • Lifeline

    Free 24/7 national charity that provides access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention.

Page last updated: 28 May 2024