Typical or Troubled?

Typical or Troubled?®

Adolescence is a difficult time for many teens, but how does one know the difference between typical teen issues and behavior that might signal a more serious problem? Mental health problems in teens are real, painful, and if left untreated, can have serious consequences.

Typical or Troubled?

What are the warning signs of Teen Mental Illness?

  • Persistent sadness, frequent crying, or excessive irritability 
  • Angry or aggressive behaviors
  • Frequent complaints about physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
  • Thoughts of suicide or expressions of self-destructive behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and regular activities
  • Repeated high-risk taking behavior such as abusing alcohol or drugs, reckless driving or sexual promiscuity
  • Violent actions, running away or rebellious behavior
  • Severe anxiety or fearfulness
  • Eccentric behavior and/or speech
  • Major changes in eating or sleeping patterns

What can you do to help?

The adolescent years are often the time when many mental health disorders first emerge.

What can you do to help? Details

It is extremely important for adults who interact on a regular basis with teens to understand the warning signs of mental illness. Unfortunately, many of these warning signs go unrecognized. The Typical or Troubled?® Program will help prepare you to recognize these signs and how to respond with the three main steps it recommends: NOTICE. TALK. ACT.

Be observant and notice when warning signs of mental health problems exist. The signs usually aren’t one-time occurrences; they persist over several weeks.

If you see any warning signs, talk to the teen. Ask how they are doing and be compassionate as you listen and respond. This is a vital step in the process of connecting a teen to help.

Make sure to follow your school’s referral process to connect the student to help, which is important for treatment, and often prevents problems from getting worse.

The Program

Typical or Troubled?® Is a school mental health education program of the American Psychiatric Foundation.

The Program Details

Typical or Troubled?® is a school mental health education program of the American Psychiatric Foundation. Created in response to the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, the program is designed to educate teachers, counselors, and other school personnel who closely interact with adolescents to identify if teenage behavior is typical or if warning signs of a mental health issue are present and some type of intervention might be needed.

The program is administered through a grant program for small groups of schools, or as a technical assistance program to organizations, large school districts, counties, cities or states. These two approaches have been designed to ensure successful implementation of the program.

To date, the Typical or Troubled?® program has been successfully administered in schools whose combined enrollment exceeds more than 560,000 students.

If you are a parent or educator interested in the Typical or Troubled?® program, please contact CG&FS at 330-762-0591.

Contact Us

Typical or Troubled?® Program Coordinator
Crisis Text Line: Text 4HOPE to 741741

Program Sponsors

ADM Board
United Way
Joint Commission
American Psychiatric Foundation