Teen Health

The adolescent or teenage years are a unique stage of human development.

The physical changes of puberty begin the process while the social-emotional development continues throughout adolescence into the early adult years.

Understanding Adolescent Development

The teenage brain reaches adult size in early adolescence, but it continues to develop until early adulthood. The brain undergoes changes that have important implications for behavior. For example:

  • Paying attention to tasks, especially things adolescents have little interest in. So, homework can be a challenge!
  • Taking risks is often seen with teen behaviors.

Teens need lots of sleep! The sleep recommendation for teens is 10 hours a day. The teen body has a natural shift to make them feel tired later in the evening, but early school starts prevents them from sleeping in the mornings. Most teens only get 8-9 hours. So, an occasional sleep-in is good for their development!

Adolescence is a time to establish patterns of behaviour related to diet, physical activity, substance use, and sexual activity. These behavior patterns are important for their health and the health of others around them.

As teens differentiate themselves from their parents, a sense of self emerges. Teens begin to question who they are and what they believe in. They question where they fit in with their family, friends, school, community, and ultimately the world.

Development is a gradual process; every child will experience their own journey. A teenager may adopt and discard activities, interests, peer groups, and mindsets again and again until they land on a persona that suits them. Empathy, nonjudgmental support, and good communication help to foster a more positive relationship with a teen, as they navigate their path to become more independent and lay the foundations for lifelong health.

Services related to this information:

  • Doorways: rapid ‘one session at a time’ counselling services.
  • Bridge the gapp
    Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘go-to’ website for mental health information. Bridge the gapp offers self-help resources, links to local services, and invites people to share their personal stories. Bridge the gapp is free of cost and available to every resident in the province. The site is divided into adult and youth sections, however many services are appropriate for both.
  • Strongest Families Children and Youth Programs
    Free skill-based educational programs for children, youth, adults, and families seeking help to improve mental health and well-being.
  • Mental health and addictions services
  • Contact your Public Health Nurse
  • Contact your physician/nurse practitioner
  • 811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555
    • 811 is free and confidential. 811 is available 24/7 and can provide support with mental health and addictions issues and more.
    • Services formerly offered by the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line are now offered by 811. Call 811 to speak with a registered nurse who is also a trained crisis intervener.
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Last updated: 2024-01-04