NJCMO Newsletter

Understanding Mental Health

Before discussing strategies for improving mental health, it is important to understand what mental health is. Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and behave. Common mental health disorders in youth include anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Several factors contribute to mental health problems in youth, including genetics, family history, environmental factors, and traumatic events.

Strategies for Improving Mental Health in Youth

Early intervention and prevention strategies can help prevent mental health problems before they become severe. These strategies include providing mental health coaching and awareness programs in schools, screening for mental health problems in primary care settings, and providing counseling services to youth who may be at risk of developing mental health problems.

  • Promoting Healthy Habits and Lifestyles: Promoting healthy habits and lifestyles can also help improve mental health in youth. This includes encouraging regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and adequate sleep. Encouraging participation in extracurricular activities can also help promote social connections and reduce stress.
  • Creating a Supportive Environment at Home and in School: Creating a supportive environment at home and in school can help reduce the risk of mental health problems in youth. Parents and guardians can create a positive and supportive home environment by listening actively to their children, providing emotional support, and setting clear boundaries. Schools can also create a supportive environment by promoting positive relationships among students, providing mental health resources, and creating a culture that supports mental health.
  • Providing Access to Mental Health Resources and Support: Providing access to mental health resources and support is critical for promoting mental health in youth. This includes providing access to counseling services, psychiatric care, and medication when necessary. Additionally, there should be efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and to improve awareness of available mental health resources.

Challenges to Implementing Mental Health Strategies

Despite the importance of mental health in youth, there are several challenges to implementing mental health strategies. Stigma surrounding mental health can prevent young people from seeking help, and limited access to mental health services can reduce the effectiveness of interventions. Additionally, there may be a lack of education and awareness about mental health among parents, teachers, and healthcare providers.


Mental health is a vital aspect of the well-being of young people, and the importance of strategies to promote it cannot be overstated. Key approaches include early intervention and prevention, encouraging healthy habits and lifestyles, fostering a supportive environment both at home and in educational settings, and ensuring access to mental health resources and support. Addressing challenges such as stigma and the limited availability of mental health services is also critical. Through dedicated and collaborative efforts, it is possible to create a framework where all young people have the support they need to sustain good mental health.


What is mental health coaching, and how does it differ from traditional therapy?

Mental health coaching is a structured approach to helping youth develop specific skills and strategies to overcome challenges and achieve personal goals. It is important to note that mental health coaches are not equipped to provide treatment or diagnose mental health disorders. Unlike traditional therapy, which involves a licensed therapist addressing deeper emotional and psychological issues, coaching tends to be more goal-oriented, emphasizing practical problem-solving. Coaches work with individuals to identify objectives, create actionable plans, and build positive habits, all within the scope of coaching and not as a replacement for professional mental health treatment.

How can mental health coaching benefit youth specifically?

Mental health coaching for youth offers personalized strategies to build resilience, manage stress, enhance communication, and foster positive behavior. It can provide support in a non-clinical setting, offering practical tools and approaches that align with the individual’s needs and developmental stage.

Can mental health coaching be used in conjunction with other treatments or therapies?

Yes, mental health coaching can complement other therapeutic interventions such as counseling or medication. It offers additional support in developing skills and habits that empower the individual to take control of their well-being, often enhancing the effectiveness of other treatments.

What qualifications should a mental health coach have, especially when working with youth?

A mental health coach working with youth should have specific training and experience in child development, psychology, or a related field. Look for credentials, certifications, or licensure in coaching, and ensure they have a background in working with the unique needs and challenges of young people.

How can families access mental health coaching services, and what is the typical cost?

Families can find mental health coaches through mental health organizations, schools, or online platforms specializing in coaching services. Costs may vary depending on the coach’s qualifications and the length and frequency of sessions. Some insurance plans may cover or partially cover these services, so it’s worth checking with your provider.

What are some common strategies that mental health coaches use to support youth?

Mental health coaches may employ strategies such as goal-setting, mindfulness techniques, strength-based approaches, and active collaboration with the youth and family. By focusing on the individual’s unique abilities and needs, coaches help foster self-awareness, self-regulation, and positive coping skills.

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