Nurturing the Mental Health of Children, Teens, and Young Adults

Children, teens, and young adults can experience emotional, behavioral, and attention problems for a variety of reasons, such as life changes or health problems. It is important to monitor and nurture your child’s mental health, and along with nurturing their mental health, be sure to also nurture your own.

Start by taking Mental Health America’s free, online Mental Health Screening.  This screening can be used to help you determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of mental health conditions. A youth version of the test is also offered, along with a version for parents to take on behalf of their child.

Symptoms of mental health disorders may start in childhood and intervening early may lead to better treatment outcomes. Symptoms may vary depending on your child’s age and it is always best to ask for an evaluation from your healthcare professional. Young children may experience frequent tantrums, constant fidgeting, declining grades, or problems making friends. Older children/teens may engage in risky, destructive or self harming behavior, lose interest in things they previously enjoyed, have low energy, or show changes to their sleeping patterns. Learn more about warning signs to watch for from Mental Health America.

Depression in Teens
With all the changes teens go through, it can be common for them to have strong emotional responses to everyday life situations, and they may need help understanding these feelings. In some instances, these responses could be signs of serious emotional or mental disorders. Refer to Mental Health America’s article on Depression in Teens for guidance on helping your teen deal with pressures, signs to watch for which may indicate your teen is depressed, and warning signs associated with suicide.

Additional Resources

Employees participating in the United Healthcare medical insurance have a variety of mental health resources available through Optum, United Healthcare’s behavioral health partner, as part of their medical benefit. Visit for more information, support resources, or to find a provider.

Visit the Support Programs and Services page for programs and services to support you and your family. You may also refer to our article Mental Health Month to learn ways to help reduce stress, which over time can affect your mental heath.