Calling Attention to a Challenging Problem
In February 2023, the Centers for Disease Control released an important and concerning report entitled U.S. Teen Girls Experiencing Increased Sadness and Violence.
The report led to a flurry of media coverage—and a series of headlines that are undeniably troubling:
From the Associated Press: Why are teen girls in crisis? It’s not just social media
From PBS NewsHour: There’s a mental health crisis among teen girls
Of course, it is not sufficient to just identify a problem. It is important to truly understand the problem and to work toward solutions. Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health is committed to doing just that.
Let’s take a closer look at the issues involved—and how Johnstown Heights addresses them.
The Role of Social Media in the Mental Health Crisis
Writing in the Time article we linked to above, Jean M. Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, argues that social media is at the heart of the problem:
Consider the life of a typical teen girl. In 2009, she would have hung out with her friends mostly in person and used social media only occasionally. By 2016, social media use was nearly mandatory—90% of teen girls used it every day—and hanging out in person had gone out of style. This is not a good formula for mental health. Social media is not only considerably less fulfilling than seeing friends in person but comes with numerous risks including sexual exploitation, body image issues, and cyberbullying, all of which girls experience more.
But as others argue, the mental health issues faced by teenage girls cannot be solely pinned on social media. After all, there is a lot going on in the world—and teenaged girls are not immune to the stress that can be caused by all kinds of things. Some of those things may be personal, but others may be broader issues that impact the ways young people feel about their safety and the safety of their peers and community.
The World is a Challenging Place
Writing in the Associated Press article linked to above, Lindsey Tanner and Angie Wang—who interviewed several girls about the difficulties in their lives—point out a range of other factors that might account for increases in mental health difficulties among not just girls, but all adolescents:
COVID-19 lockdowns added another dimension…Some kids entered the pandemic as youngsters and emerged with more mature bodies, socially awkward, uncertain how to navigate friendships and relationships. They live in a world beset with school shootings, a rapidly changing climate, social and political unrest, and restrictions on reproductive care and transgender rights.
It seems fair to argue that many things are contributing to the increase in mental health disorders among young people—including adolescent girls. With that in mind, what can be done to make things better for those who are struggling?
The Key is Comprehensive Behavioral Health Treatment
Behavioral health—whether we are talking about adolescents or adults—is complicated. It encompasses an array of emotional, psychological, and social aspects, each of which can influence a person’s overall well-being. Understanding all of those aspects of a person’s experience and addressing them effectively is an essential part of helping someone make and maintain behavioral health gains.
When it comes to treating the mental health challenges of adolescent girls, we recognize that a comprehensive and holistic approach—an approach that involves parents, schools, healthcare professionals, and the broader community—is absolutely necessary. Our primary focus is on creating a supportive environment where teenaged girls can work toward improved emotional well-being and resilience.
We are committed to providing personalized treatment that meets the needs of each individual we serve. Our multidisciplinary clinical team—led by a psychiatrist—provides exceptional therapeutic and diagnostic treatment planning. We offer:
- Medication evaluation and management
- Trauma-informed care
- Group therapy
- Family support and education
- Stress management
- Recreation and art therapy
We understand that the challenges of adolescence can be overwhelming—for the teenager, for the parents, and for others who love the young person who is struggling. Our work helps everyone involved navigate this difficult period in healthy, productive ways.
The First Step is Reaching Out for Help
Is an adolescent girl in your life struggling with mental health difficulties? If so, we encourage you to consider getting her the help she needs at Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health, located in Johnstown, Colorado. We are ready and able to help.
We also want to note that we offer mental health services for adults who are struggling. If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, trauma-based issues, or other difficulties, we can provide evidence-based, personalized, comprehensive, compassionate care that can help you improve your overall quality of life.