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Perhaps you’re concerned about a teenager’s state of mind, or you’re a teenager or parent needing support yourself. Everyone’s welcome to the information and advice we offer here.


Normal is different for all of us

Everyone’s teenage experience is different, but it can be a challenging time. It’s when we explore our identities and try to imagine our futures. There are often stresses with exams, relationships, friends, family and even bullying. Then there’s the pandemic. And for teenagers, emotions can feel particularly intense.

On this page, we’ve gathered together lots of information to help both teenagers and those who care about them. There are videos, infographics, and articles offering advice from our experts.

Why should we all be concerned about teenage mental health?

Now more than ever, because of COVID-19, we need to ensure that young people feel healthy, confident and valued, and that they know their lives have purpose. But here’s what our 2020 research revealed*:

A teenager’s mental health can cause physical and behavioural symptoms

Here’s what to look out for.

From the research we commissioned into teenage mental health in 2020, psychologist Dr Lucy Foulkes explores how teenagers reacted positively and negatively to the pandemic. She offers her expert tips for when parents should be concerned about their teenager.


Download full infographic

Expert guidance on teenage mental health

How to have HUMAN conversations about teenage mental health

We’re all getting a little better at understanding mental health and knowing how to spot potential problems, but starting a conversation with your teenager about their mental health isn’t always easy.

But with the right words, you can help to build trust and understanding, find solutions and build resilience. Sometimes these conversations bring the realisation that a teenager needs support from someone outside the family.

Expert guidance on teenage mental health

Parents: How do you know when to act?

It’s not always easy to spot when natural feelings like being a bit anxious or sad tip over into something to be concerned about. In other words, the difference between negative emotions and a mental health problem. Bupa mental health nurse Caroline Harper suggests that if you’re worried about your teenager, you could ask yourself:

  • How long has it been going on for?
  • Is it serious enough to get in the way of normal life?
  • Is it affecting their relationships?
  • Are there any worrying physical symptoms?
  • Does anything make them feel better, like distraction or exercise?

If you’re still concerned, this page could help you start a ‘HUMAN’ conversation (see above), or point you to charities that could help.

Free mental health resources for anyone aged 11-25

If you're having a tough time or struggling with your feelings, you can find support in the young people’s section of the Mind website. Mind is the UK’s leading mental health charity, and these resources were funded by the Bupa Foundation.

Free mental health resources for young people >

Concerns about eating disorders in teenagers have grown during the pandemic

Our research shows that more people are now looking for support with eating disorders, including teenagers and worried parents. The pandemic has been stressful, but eating more, or controlling food intake, can be an unhelpful coping mechanism.

If you’re concerned, our experts offer information, advice and guidance about eating disorders in young people.

If you’re in a crisis or just need some help, don’t hesitate. Here are some really helpful organisations that you can turn to for support.

  • YoungMinds

  • Childline

  • PAPYRUS

  • Family Lives

  • stem4

  • Samaritans

  • Mind

Advice, tips and support on teenage mental health from Bupa’s experts

These articles have been selected from our Healthy Me wellbeing platform, where there are lots more articles about mental health.

Teenage mental health support as part of Bupa health insurance

* Teens Minds: Living Through a Pandemic and Beyond
Bupa-commissioned report by PCP Research, surveying 1,000 UK teenagers aged 13-19, and 1,000 of their parents, between 22 October and 3 November 2020.

As of September 2020, this analysis is based on an internally conducted review of the consumer, SME and Corporate health insurance markets using publicly available information from the major insurers in the UK consumer health insurance market. Combined, Bupa, AXA PPP, Aviva, Cigna and Vitality hold approximately 90-93% of the Gross Written Premium income of UK Private Medical Insurance providers. Refers to standard mental health cover when this is included in the selected health insurance or health trust product. We acknowledge that schemes can have bespoke benefits.

See PDF How we compare: Individuals (PDF 1MB)

See PDF How we compare: Small business (PDF 1MB)

See PDF How we compare: Corporate business (PDF 1MB)

††Direct Access telephone services are available as long as the symptoms are covered under the policy. If your cover excludes conditions you had before your policy started, we’ll ask you to provide evidence from your GP that your symptoms are not pre-existing for a period of up to two years from policy start date (or up to five years in the case of mental health). We can then refer you to a consultant or therapist through the Direct Access service. Always call us first to check your eligibility.

Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HZ.

Bupa health trusts are administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ

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