Recognizing psychological distress

Understanding mental health: the teenage years

Recognizing psychological distress

Understanding mental health: the teenage years


The way society perceives mental health has often been problematic. Mental health issues are not always well understood and can be the subject of various misconceptions, particularly where young people are concerned.


So what is mental health, exactly?

Mental health in youth is a reflection of their well-being, particularly as it relates to:

  • Themselves (their self-esteem)
  • Others (friends, family, etc.)
  • Their environment (school, sports, etc.)

While they may experience highs and lows, they can strive to find inner balance every day by practicing self-compassion, mentalization or mindfulness, for example. By utilizing the above tools daily and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, they will more effectively learn to stay balanced. It just takes practice—much like learning a new sport.

Don’t hesitate 😌 to talk about it with your teenager, or to apply these techniques to your own life. It will allow you to serve as a model for your teen, and even bring the two of you closer together.


Why do teens in particular need to take care of their mental health?

Adolescence is a time of discovery and learning, and it’s the ideal time in which to build a solid foundation of good mental health. By learning how to properly manage their emotions, teens become better equipped to deal with any challenges they may face—because social relationships, school pressure and bodily changes can all be sources of stress or anxiety in a teen’s life.

Cultivating good mental health from a young age is key to developing healthy relationships with friends and family, loving and accepting yourself, developing a personality based on a strong foundation, and preventing anxiety and depression.

Did you know? Did you know? Did you know?

More than a third

of Quebec teens report a high level of psychological distress.




of mental health issues appear before the age of 14, and 75% before the age of 22, according to the WHO.

Learn more

What is the difference between mental health 🧠 and mental illness 🏥 ?

Mental health is a state that teens can manage on their own on a day-to-day basis. Mental illness, however, causes changes in the brain, which can affect a teen’s:

  • Mood
  • Thoughts
  • Behaviour

These changes can prevent teens from functioning in various areas of their lives and cause psychological distress. This is particularly true of depression.

Learn more about depression

Did you know? Did you know? Did you know?

According to the WHO, depression is the leading cause of illness or disability among teens worldwide.

Why is it important to change accepted beliefs in order to combat psychological distress?

Anxiety and depression can affect all areas of a teen’s life and lead to severe consequences such as:

  • Violence
  • Bullying
  • Dropping out of school
  • Drug addiction
  • Suicidal actions.

This is why it is crucial to raise awareness not only among young people, but also among their families, school staff and society as a whole, so as to demystify psychological distress and make sure teens feel comfortable speaking up about it.

Did you know? Did you know? Did you know?

75 %

of young people suffering from depression are uncomfortable talking about their distress due to fear of being judged or rejected, and go untreated..

Looking for additional resources? Consult the Adap.t guide

Looking for additional resources? Consult the Adap.t guide

The Canadian Mental Health Association is making a new educational guide on the mental health of young people aged 12 to 15 available free of charge to practitioners, teachers and parents:

  • Learn how to deal with and normalize mental health as well as the emotions experienced (worries, anxiety, uncertainty…)
  • Build on or develop mental health management strategies, particularly their resilience and social skills.
  • Demystify the demand for help.
See guide

Need to talk about what you are going through with your teenager?

Contact Ligne Parents for free 24/7 professional support


1. GAGNÉ, Pierre, en collaboration avec le Bureau du coroner du Québec. Les suicides chez les 10 à 19 ans au Québec. [Rapport du congrès annuel de l’Association des psychiatres du Canada rendu public le 16 novembre 2001].