The teenage years are a time of physical and emotional growth and a time for teens to figure out who they are as individuals. Many teenagers struggle with these developmental tasks, and self-esteem and self-confidence suffer. Low self-esteem not only affects the teen personally but also may affect them socially. According to The Nemours Foundation, self-esteem also affects how a person acts, which in turn affects how others treat him. Helping a teenager improve self-esteem and self-confidence may improve behaviour and school performance and increase chances of being a successful adult.
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Mental Health America states that many people look to support groups for peer support. Support groups meet at regularly scheduled times and include individuals who need help with a particular problem. They may be facilitated by a peer who is designated as the leader, or they may be led by a mental health professional or other specialist in the designated area the group is targeting. Support groups can be located through Internet search, local newspaper listings or contacting local churches and mental health agencies. Self-esteem support groups for teens also may be located by contacting the school counsellor. There also are online support groups which benefit teens in rural areas with fewer local resources.
There are a variety of non-profit organisations that focus on developing emotionally healthy teens. Most larger cities have branches of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, 4-H, Boys Town and Life Teen, among other organisations. Smaller towns may have limited resources. Contacting these organisations via their websites may provide opportunities for teens to be involved online if there are no local branches.
Private practice or community mental health centres offer individual outpatient counselling for a myriad of psychological problems, including teens struggling with low self-esteem. Therapists first conduct an intake assessment to get a thorough history and determine the needs of the individual. Therapy sessions may be held weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the therapist's recommendations. Therapists work with the teenager, and parents as appropriate, to determine the source of low self-esteem and ways to build self-esteem and self-confidence.
Residential treatment occurs when a teenager goes to a therapeutic facility to stay for a period of time while in treatment. Length of stay may be as brief as one week or as long as six months, depending on the teenager's needs. The benefits of residential treatment are the removal of environmental distractions and the ability to provide intensive services. These facilities may focus on intensive therapy and reduction of severe conduct problems. However, some programs are similar to summer camps with outdoor activities, classes and team-building development. Wilderness Programs Info provides a list of wilderness-based programs, and Family First Aid provides lists of residential treatment centres based on speciality.
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