Psychology Cares Clinical Services

Teenage Clinical Services (11-18 Years)

At Psychology Cares, we provide specialist research-informed clinical services to support teenagers through these challenging years, filled with both opportunity and possibility, as they begin their journey into adulthood. We assess, formulate and treat complex psychological and neuropsychological disorders, as well as promote optimisation through resilience, improving self-esteem, regulation and managing unhelpful risk-taking behaviours. We also undertake empirical clinical research, develop theories and models, and put them into practice through dissemination and supporting other clinicians. We do all this with the commitment to strengthening teenagers’ capacity to meet their potential. 

The maturation and development of the teenage brain and behaviours have been linked to both risk for mental health difficulties and also to adaptive evolution [University College London, 2021]. This is why our clinical practice is informed by cutting edge research in clinical psychology, the natural sciences, and neuroscience, empowering us to provide the best possible care for teenagers through the combination of multi-discipline expert knowledge. 

Teeenagers and young people are exposed to a range of stressors as they transition into adulthood. They also encounter unique social pressures as they begin to make sense of themselves and the world. The digital age, for example, brings both learning and interaction opportunities across the globe. Simultaneously, it exposes us to new challenges and risks, unlike any other period in history. Social media has been linked to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness in adolescents [Child Mind Institute, 2023]. The digital environment can be difficult to regulate and understand for parents and carers. The lives of teenagers, and perhaps all of us, are increasingly dependent on and affected by the interaction between both digital and face-to-face environments. This is both an opportunity and a challenge for the developing teenage mind and behaviours. 

Additionally, the pressure to conform, bullying, and issues of identity can be some important stressors during teenage years. Therefore it is imperative to provide a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space for not only teenagers but also their carers so we can work together to build a supportive and nurturing environment for growth and possibility.

Teenagers & Their Mental Health: A Youthful Perspective

The adolescent stage represents a critical period in mental health development, marked by significant brain maturation, social interactions, and emotional processes.  While adolescence poses heightened risks for mental health difficulties, it also offers opportunities for psychosocial growth. Traditionally, assessments and interventions for adolescent mental health have relied heavily on reports from parents and teachers. However, there is a growing recognition of the importance of incorporating teenagers’ perspectives in understanding their mental health experiences.

Understanding that the teenage brain, as shown below, is primed to risk taking behaviours, and how to support teenagers’ learning and growth in a nurturing environment which promotes their system of maturation into adulthood is critical.

Teenagers are more likely than children or adults to engage in risky behaviour, in part because of a mismatch between two major brain regions. Development of the hormone-fueled limbic system (purple), which drives emotions, intensifies as puberty begins (typically between ages 10 to 12), and the system matures over the next several years. But the prefrontal cortex (green), which keeps a lid on impulsive actions, does not approach full development until a decade later, leaving an imbalance during the interim years. Puberty is starting earlier, too, boosting hormones when the prefrontal cortex is even less mature.

Teenagers perceive mental health through emotional, behavioural, and relational dimensions. Emotionally, mental health encompasses both positive and negative affective states. Behaviourally, it entails adherence to societal norms and adaptive functioning. Adolescents emphasise communication, support from family and peers, and the avoidance of conflict as integral to mental well-being. 

Recognising the autonomy and agency of adolescents in their mental health journey is paramount. Teenagers should actively participate in decision-making processes concerning their mental health care, rather than being marginalised. Mental health professionals must adopt a person-centred approach, fostering rapport and comprehensively evaluating various facets of adolescents’ lives to provide effective support and interventions.

At Psychology Cares, our Centre for Research and Clinical Innovation (CRCI) and LifeLab (LiL), with specialist and dedicated clinical research, continue to contribute to the development and improvement of adolescent’s wellbeing and life outcomes.

"Thematic map: mental health perceptions among adolescents."

Key Facts for Teenagers Mental Health:

1 in 7 adolescents experience a mental disorder.

9 million adolescents are living with a mental health disorder in Europe.

½ of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age.

50% of teenage girls and 30% of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviours.

Teenagers spend an average of 9 hours a day on their smartphones.

Stable communication with peers, teachers, friends and relatives can improve resilience in teenagers.

Clinical Services
(11-18 Years)
Other Clinical Services
Connecting Care
Centre for Research &
Clinical Innovation (CRCI)

CRCI Teenagers (Te) Research (R)
(11-18 years)
nformation & Resources
Clinical Care for Teenagers