Understanding Different Mental Health Issues in Teens: A Guide for Parents

Mental health concerns encompass a range of conditions that may impact your teenager’s thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and behaviours. Recognising and addressing these issues is crucial for supporting your child’s overall well-being. 

Mental health problems can affect various aspects of a teenager’s life, including their academic performance, personal relationships, and overall ability to cope with life’s demands. Fortunately, effective treatments such as psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both can significantly help manage mental health conditions.  


Common Mental Health Issues in Teens: 

Anxiety and Depression are the most prevalent mental health issues faced by teenagers in Ireland today. 

Anxiety Disorders: 

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorders 
  • Social phobias 
  • Specific phobias (e.g., agoraphobia, claustrophobia) 
  • Panic disorders 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Untreated anxiety disorders can significantly impact a teenagers daily life. 
  • CBT has been proven as an effective treatment for the majority of anxiety presentations. These therapeutic interventions are sometimes combined with medication. 


  •  Depression is a mood disorder with symptoms like low mood, loss of interest, and reduced energy. 
  • Varying levels of severity and symptoms, potentially leading to suicidal thoughts or behaviours. 
  • DBT and CBT have been proven as an effective treatment for the cases of depression. These therapeutic interventions are sometimes combined with medication. 

Behavioural and Emotional Disorders: 

  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) 
  • Conduct disorder (CD) 
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 
  • Treatment may involve therapy, education, and medication. 

Bipolar Affective Disorder: 

  • Characterised by episodes of mania and depression. 
  • Genetic predisposition and environmental stressors can contribute. 

Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders: 

  • Dissociation involves disconnecting from thoughts, feelings, memories, or identity. 
  • Disorders include dissociative amnesia, depersonalisation disorder and dissociative identity disorder.  

Eating Disorders: 

  • Anorexia, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders. 
  • Eating disorders affect people of all ages, with serious psychological and physical consequences. Eating disorders tend to be very complex, requiring specialist intervention. For example, a Multi Disciplinary Team is sometimes required for more severe cases.  


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): 

  •  OCD is an anxiety disorder with intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and distressing repetitive rituals (compulsions). 
  • Treatments include Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) and medications. 


  • Irrational and persistent belief that others are ‘out to get you.’ 
  • May be a symptom of various conditions, including paranoid personality disorder and schizophrenia. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): 

  • Develops in response to traumatic events like accidents, assaults, or natural disasters. 
  • Treatment involves therapy and support. 


  • Involves delusions, hallucinations, and confused thinking. 
  • Can occur in various mental illnesses, with medication and psychological support relieving symptoms. 


  • Complex psychotic disorder with disruptions to thinking and emotions. 
  • Symptoms vary but may include hallucinations, delusions, social withdrawal, and impaired thinking. 


Seeking Professional Help: 

Remember, for adolescent mental health issues, seeking professional help is important. Talk to your GP about your child’s difficulties. In an emergency, call 999 or bring your child to your local emergency department.

Helplines like Pieta House (1800 247 247) and Samaritans Ireland (116 123) offer public support nationwide in Ireland.  

Jigsaw are a public adolescent mental healthcare provider in Ireland for less severe cases (primary care), and CAMHS are the public adolescent mental healthcare provider in Ireland for more severe cases (secondary care). 

Adolescent mental health issues have risen dramatically over recent years, leaving long waiting lists for many public organisations.

Semi-state organisations like MyMind.org offer affordable online options for adolescent mental health support, without waiting lists being as long as the aforementioned services (albeit waiting lists are now becoming an issue for these organisations also).

If your child is experiencing signs of anxiety, and you are seeking dependable private help for your child’s difficulties, request a Callback to speak with one of our professionals. We can advise you on the best course of action for your child. 

For more information about the difference between these professionals, or to discuss your childs difficulties, request a callback for a complimentary conversation with one of our professionals.

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An Occupational Therapist and Phd researcher, Joy has worked in paediatric disability settings, as well as community crisis intervention and inpatient mental health teams.

As a Counsellor and Psychotherapist, with a master’s degree in CBT, Melissa specialises in offering tailored mental health services to meet each client’s unique needs;  fostering a comprehensive and personalised therapeutic experience.

Managing Director of PrimaHealth, with a master’s degree in Applied Psychology from UCC, Danny is one of the team which liaises with parents to offer them empathetic support and guidance; finding the right mental health professional for their child’s particular needs.

Kelly Ann employs evidence-based techniques like CBT and mindfulness in her counselling to address adolescent issues such as anxiety and stress, emphasising strong therapeutic relationships and collaboration with parents for growth and emotional well-being.

Passionate about providing empathetic support, Breda, a psychotherapist with extensive experience, offers evidence-based techniques like CBT, DBT, REBT, and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to help navigate her clients through stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges they may face.

With over twenty years of therapeutic experience with young people and families, Rosaleen specialises in adolescent psychotherapy, holding qualifications including a BA in Applied Social Studies, a Certificate in Addiction Studies and a Diploma in Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Adolescent Psychotherapy.

Having had years of experience working in Child and Adolescent community mental health teams and inpatient settings as an Occupational Therapist, Fidelma has developed a clinical expertise in using therapeutic approaches to support young adults manage and overcome their difficulties. 

Marianne, an Occupational Therapist, specialises in pediatric and adolescent mental health, providing compassionate therapy focused on fostering self-compassion and safeness. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise, enhanced by her continuous pursuit of alternative therapy courses and passion for wellness.