10 Ways To Support Your Child On World Teen Mental Wellness Day

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Erban, LMFT, IMH-E
Updated May 14, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

World Teen Mental Wellness Day is observed on March 2 every year. It was established to raise awareness, decrease stigma and spark very important conversations around the topic of mental well being and to make those experiencing mental health challenges aware of available resources. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in seven people between the ages of 10 and 19 currently experience mental illnesses such as major depression. As such a substantial portion of the teenage community deal with mental health challenges, addressing risk factors and increasing awareness surrounding teens mental health is vital, especially since the worldwide pandemic and it’s impact on mental health. If you want to support your younger family member or other teenagers in your life this World Teen Mental Wellness Day, consider doing some activities, informational and helpful materials are listed below.

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10 ways to support teen mental health

From anxiety and depression to substance use disorder, and more, the latest research shows that more than half of mental health issues start in the late teens. According to The WHO, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and behavioral disorders are some of the leading causes of disability and illness among youth. 

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources. Support is available 24/7.

If you want to do your part to support the emotional well being of the young people in your life and promote mental health awareness, consider the following activities. You can try them out to honor the mission of World Teen Mental Health Day on March 2 and on any day of the year.

  1. Start with a hug 

Starting the day off with a hug may seem like a trivial activity for supporting your teen’s mental health, but this simple gesture may actually be beneficial. According to Greater Good magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, hugging and caring touch may help reduce our reactivity to stress, increase well-being, and even improve sleep. So if your teen is okay with it, give them a big hug to start off the day. Just remember that respecting your child's personal boundaries is important, so make sure to ask first if your teens reluctant.

  1. Get breakfast together

Next, the two of you can grab breakfast. Spending time together is great for strengthening bonds, but that’s not the true aim of this strategy. Instead, it’s about the potential mental health benefits of starting the day with nutritious food. One study of more than 800 teens found that eating breakfast correlates with better mental well-being—and the more food groups they included in their meals, the higher their “mental health score” was, showing the benefits of a balanced diet. (Mental health research is constantly evolving, so older sources may contain information or theories that have been reevaluated since their original publication date.)

  1. Practice active listening

Being an active listener can help keep an open conversation between you and your teen, which can increase the likelihood that they’ll come to you when they have a problem, a hard decision, troublesome feelings, or a mental health concern. There are three components of being an active listener according to a research article published in the International Journal of Listening:: 

  1. Nodding and other nonverbal cues to demonstrate interest and engagement

  2. Avoiding passing judgment on what they’re saying

  3. Asking clarification questions if needed

These can all be useful when talking to your teen, especially the second point—and it can all start as part of your observation of World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Refraining from judging them is key to making them feel comfortable opening up to you. If you want them to know that they can come to you with anything—including potential mental health concerns—starting to implement active listening with them now can help.

  1. Let them know that therapy is an option

As part of World Teen Mental Wellness Day, you can let your child know that talk therapy and mental health care are available to them if they ever want someone to talk to—and that there’s no shame in seeking this kind of support.

Even if you’re an incredibly supportive parent who practices active listening with your child all the time, they could still want to get an additional perspective on any challenges they may be facing. Plus, if they’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, a trained professional is usually the best resource for helping them figure out what’s going on and manage the mental health struggles they’re experiencing. 

In this day and age, there are plenty of different options for therapy that are available for people of all ages. If your teenager would prefer to receive this kind of help from home, you can let them know that virtual therapy is a possibility. Studies show that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy for some concerns, so those who prefer the virtual format can still receive effective treatment. With an online therapy platform like TeenCounseling, your child can speak with a licensed therapist with your consent via phone, video call, and/or online chat. Their counselor can help them build confidence, hone their communication skills, identify distorted thought patterns, sort through difficult emotions, and more, depending on their unique situation. Above all, letting your child know that there are resources like this available to them is generally a great way to observe World Teen Mental Wellness Day.

  1. Lead by example to prevent mental illness

Your child may feel nervous at the thought of attending counseling, which represents a perfect opportunity for you to lead by example. Discussing some age-appropriate details with your child about your own mental health and self care journey can help them feel less alone with their own challenges and can encourage them to pursue care for themselves in this way. This day encourages open conversation and can support your understanding of each other as people. If you’ve benefited from therapy, you can tell them about it. If you haven’t yet, giving it a try can be a powerful way to demonstrate to your teenager that you prioritize mental health in yourself, too—and that therapy can be a prevention and maintenance tool for staying on track rather than just something to turn to when problems arise. A virtual therapy platform like BetterHelp offers the same services as TeenCounseling but for adults if you’re looking for a virtual therapy option for yourself.

  1. Exercise and the great outdoors: A remedy for mental health issues

The JWB Foundation’s “Move Your Mental Health” report found that 89% of studies on the topic positively associate physical activity and mental health. The strongest association was between depression and exercise. In fact, some studies have found the effects of exercise on mental health to be similar to taking antidepressants. Plus, this TIME article takes a look at the scientific evidence for the ability of sunlight to increase serotonin in the brain, which may boost your mood. So if you really want to maximize the mental health benefits, go biking, grab your skates, go for a swim, take a hike, or kick a soccer ball around outside with your teen today.

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  1. Sign up for a yoga class 

Another option for a movement that can be gentler on the body but may still support mental health is yoga because it combines the benefits of physical activity and mindful breathing. The International Day of Yoga gives awareness of the benefits of yoga to the mind and body of a person. While the exact origin of yoga practices dates back more than 5,000 years ago, various studies have associated yoga for kids with improved concentration and memory. Practicing yoga also promotes better outcomes for those with diagnosed anxiety, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s why encouraging your teenager to give yoga a try could be a beneficial activity for World Teen Mental Wellness Day.

  1. Start a book club

Research compiled in a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) article suggests that reading can lower your heart rate, reduce muscle tension, and even reduce stress by up to 68%. Encouraging your teen to read by giving them a gift card to a local bookstore, picking up two copies of your favorite book to read together, or supporting them in starting a book club with their friends or fellow students is another way to help support their mental health.

  1. Volunteer

A study from 2014 reflected the findings of previous research when it concluded that performing “helping behaviors” is associated with “stress-buffering” effects. This World Teen Mental Wellness Day, you might consider volunteering with your teenager for a cause that the two of you are passionate about. You could also plan to do a few random acts of kindness around town or pay a visit to an elderly neighbor who lives alone. Doing something good for others can be a great bonding activity, and it can improve mental health for both of you by decreasing stress.

For additional benefits, you can also see if there are any volunteer openings at your local animal shelter. According to the American Heart Association, spending time with pets can help people reduce stress, manage anxiety, and increase their ability to work productively. It may also positively impact those experiencing mental health issues like depression or PTSD. 

  1. Get some laugh-ins

Whatever you end up doing with your child this World Teen Mental Wellness Day, you can both enjoy some extra mental health benefits by having some laughs along the way. A 2016 study shows that laughter can increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, which can have positive effects on those experiencing stress or depression. Watching a comedy, chasing the dog around the park, trying a new activity neither of you knows how to do, or just cracking jokes throughout the day can help you get those good chemicals flowing through laughter.


Many teenagers today face mental health concerns and challenges, which is why events like World Teen Mental Wellness Day are so important. If you want to support your teen on this day or any other throughout the year, trying some of the activities on this list may be helpful.

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