Wellbeing and teenagers

girl surfing big wave
girl surfing big wave

girl surfing big wave 

We all want our teenagers to be happy and well, and by helping them develop mental wellbeing, they will have every opportunity to get the most out of their teenage years. 

This will help you if:

  • you want to learn about mental wellbeing
  • you want to know why mental wellbeing is important for teenagers
  • you would like to know how to improve your child’s wellbeing.

What is wellbeing?

The World Health Organisation defines mental wellbeing as ‘a state in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’ It reflects a state in which someone is healthy, happy and prosperous. A strong sense of wellbeing helps us to feel good about ourselves and the way our lives are going.

Why is wellbeing important?

Wellbeing is important since it allows us to feel emotions like happiness, contentment, curiosity, satisfaction – all of which help us function well in the world and lead our lives to their fullest. Wellbeing also plays a role in supporting our mental health, by giving us a greater ability to manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This helps us to maintain good relationships, set and achieve goals, and find meaning and purpose in our endeavours.

The interesting thing about wellbeing is that it can have an upward spiral effect. If you do something that increases your wellbeing, it’s likely to make you feel good, which is turn will help give you the motivation to do something else that to improve your wellbeing and make you feel good.  

What effect does wellbeing have on teenagers?

High levels of wellbeing in teenagers can help them flourish in life, as well as act as a protective factor against some of the challenges that may arise during the teenage years. Teenagers with strong mental wellbeing are able to:

  • manage their emotions 
  • enjoy positive relationships with friends an family
  • apply themselves at school
  • participate in activities that interest them
  • have optimism about the future.

5 Ways to Wellbeing

A simple framework to increase wellbeing is the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, developed by the New Economics Foundation in the UK. The framework outlines 5 strategies that have been proven to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing. These strategies are:

  • connect
  • be active
  • take notice
  • keep learning
  • give.

Learn more about these and other tips to improve your child's wellbeing.

Page last review by ReachOut Parents Clinical Advisory Group on