Mighty Blog

Why mental health concerns among kids and teens rise in spring and what families can do to help

Did you know the number of kids and teens experiencing mental health issues typically increases in the spring? Why this season seems to be particularly difficult for young people is largely unknown. But Dr. Sarah Jerstad, medical director of outpatient mental health at Children’s Minnesota, says there could be a few things at play having to do with school.

“The springtime has many high-stress or challenging moments for students and, right now, we are seeing an increase in the number of kids and teens coming to us in need of mental health support,” said Dr. Jerstad.

Child looking contemplatively out the window

Social pressure of college decisions

The end of April and beginning of May is traditionally when students learn if they’ve been accepted – or not accepted – to college. Students who don’t get into their college of choice can struggle with their mental health and social media can make that feeling of rejection even worse. For example, the feeling of rejection can increase as a teen may see their peers posting their college acceptance celebrations on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram.


The spring is also prom season for high school students, which can come with heavy expectations on having the so-called ‘perfect prom.’ But when the evening doesn’t live up to those expectations, the letdown could lead to increased anxiety or depression for a student.

Final weeks of school

This time of year is also when the end of the school year is in sight. For students who are falling behind, they may begin to worry about catching up which can lead to feelings of hopelessness. For other students, the pressure of completing final projects, preparing for their final school performance or sporting event can be overwhelming – especially if they are trying to improve their grades or perform to their best.

Get tips to help your child’s mental health at home.

Resources for you beyond the emergency department

If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, Dr. Jerstad recommends first assessing the problem and if it’s school related, partnering with the school counselor, social workers or teachers to get support for your child. Emergency care is needed when a child’s safety is at risk. However, most kids and teens can be helped with resources that are readily available: If you’re recognizing they are stressed or overwhelmed, here are some resources that can help:

  • Call or text 988. If you or a loved one are having a mental health crisis, you can call or text 988 to connect to a trained crisis counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK. This is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
  • The Trevor Project supports LGBTQ+ teens and young adults: 1-866-488-7386.
  • Spanish Helpline, 1-877-AYUDESE (1-877-298-3373).
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), call the helpline at 800-950-6264 or text “HelpLine” to 62640.
  • NAMI Minnesota is the state chapter of the national nonprofit that offers a detailed list of support resources on its website.
  • Ramey County Children Mental Health Collaborative offers youth and teen mental health help, resources, services, connections and support for families and health care providers in Ramsey County, Minnesota. Call or Text (800) 565-2575.
  • Hennepin County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative offers comprehensive, integrated, and culturally responsive mental health service system in for children, youth, and families Hennepin County.
  • Metro Children’s Crisis Response Services allows people living in the metro to enter their address to contact their local crisis team.
  • Outside of the Twin Cities metro. All counties have a mobile crisis team made up of mental health professionals who can travel to an individual’s location and assess the situation.
    • Call CRISIS (274747) from anywhere in the State of Minnesota to reach the local county crisis team.
  • Walk-in Counseling Center offers free and anonymous walk-in counseling with no appointment needed.