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*Social issues such as mental health, gay rights and racism have always been considered taboo subjects in the past.

However, the stigmas attached to them are being peeled back and are now being more prominently confronted and addressed at a rapid pace.

Visit any news website and you’re sure to find an article or video chronicling that latest strike in DC or a think piece deconstructing colonialism, social injustice or political correctness. So ingrained in the zeitgeist is this movement that even Netflix are getting involved with shows like “Dear White People.”

This healthy confrontation of hitherto unacknowledged issues has also extended to those affecting teenagers.

Being a teenager is, as everyone knows, not always the most agreeable experience. Puberty, high school and evolving social situations can make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin to say the least. At worst, it can be a harrowing experience that stays with you for the rest of your life. With that in mind, we’ll look at a number of ways to nurture your teenager’s mental health in their most formative years.

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Get adequate sleep in the correct environment

Homework, after school activities, late night texting – these are all sleep sappers, and not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your teenager’s mental state. It’s therefore important that they not only get enough sleep, but also a high enough quality of sleep. By tailoring the sleep environment you can ensure that they will always feel well rested even when they hear that 6am alarm before school. The first step in this regard is to get your hands on a firm and supportive mattress. Don’t stress if this sounds like a massive task, there are tons of review sites and articles to help you find the perfect one. You can even order direct from an online provider like Eve if you don’t have enough time to head down to a physical store.

Other factors to mitigate bad sleep include making sure your kids put their smartphone and other devices with bright screens down at least an hour or so before bed, getting to sleep at the same time every night and ensuring that room is a comfortable temperature so there won’t be any tossing and turning during the night.

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Eating healthily

We’ve all the heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” Well, it’s truer than you might think. If you’re stuffing yourself full of junk food, trans fats and nutrient-thin meals, your body and mind are going to suffer as a result, and this is especially true as a teen, when the body and mind are still developing. To keep them as sharp and happy as possible, it’s therefore important to ensure your teenager maintains a healthy and balanced diet. The obvious benefits include lowering the risk of physical ailments such as heart disease and high blood pressure. However, there has been a growing body of work that shows how correct diet can reduce the effects of common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

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Exercise

Encourage your teenagers to exercise. While it can have aesthetic benefits, it is well-known that exercise has massive benefits on one’s mental health. This includes reducing stress, releasing endorphins, improving self-confidence and alleviating anxiety. And if you’re worried about what type of exercise to start your teens on, don’t worry; there are loads of resources online that can steer you in the right direction. Also keep in mind that any exercise is beneficial, whether it’s a brisk walk, a gentle bicycle ride or a weekly game of tennis. The important thing is to get started.