Millions of people live with mental health disorders. For parents, it can be really hard when one of their children suffers. As parents, it can be difficult to know how to support adult children struggling with mental health. Someone may not be sure how to meet their needs. Additionally, you want to respect the fact that they are adults. We can help you understand how to offer support for your adult child. As a result, they can find the help they need to heal at programs like Launch Centers in Los Angeles, California. 

Adult Children with Mental Illness Statistics

Mood and personality disorders affect the lives of millions of people every day. Depression and anxiety are 2 of the most common mental health conditions. Furthermore, they often affect young adults. Consequently, many parents wonder how to support adult children struggling with mental health.

Statistics show that:

  • About half of mental illness begins in childhood, usually by age 14
  • By age 24, 75% of mental illnesses have begun
  • Also, 1 in 5 young adults aged 18 to 25 have a serious mental illness
  • Depression affects 21% of young adults aged 18 to 29
  • Nearly 10% of suicide deaths happen to people aged 15 to 24
  • At least 8.4 million people in the US provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional issue

Moreover, 1 in 4 Americans has at least 1 mental health issue. Having said that, there is still a stigma related to mental illness. People often avoid seeking help for it because of feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Furthermore, many young adults may not be able to afford mental health care. Consequently, their mental health gets worse.

Types of Mental Illness

Learning how to support adult children struggling with mental health involves education. By this, we mean knowing about the different types of mental illness. Additionally, it helps to know their individual signs and symptoms.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders impact the way a person feels. In other words, they affect their moods. Common mood disorders include:

Major Depressive Disorder: Depression is a serious mental illness that affects 16 million adults. A number of factors can contribute to its onset. These include trauma, genetics, life events, and brain structure. For that matter, substance abuse can cause depression to develop.

Symptoms can include:

  • Changes in sleep, appetite, and energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Crying a lot

Bipolar Disorder: The 2 major factors involve mania (highs) and depression (lows). The average age of bipolar onset in young adults is 25. It can be caused by genetics, stress, and brain chemistry.

Symptoms can include:

  • Periods of mania or depression
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Irritability, impulsive behavior, and reckless decisions

Anxiety Disorders: These include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias. As well, anxiety can make it hard to engage in everyday life. Additionally, it can make it hard for a person to even leave the house.

Symptoms can include:

  • Dread, tension, restlessness, irritability
  • Believing the worst will happen
  • Racing heart, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and tremors
  • Fatigue and insomnia

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD comes from being exposed to trauma. This includes assault, accidents, sexual abuse, natural disaster, and military service. In fact, about 7.7 million Americans experience PTSD. The average age of onset is around 20 years old. Launch Centers is proud to provide services specifically for those suffering from PTSD, childhood trauma, and trauma in general. Our website includes several mental health and trauma assessments to help you best determine which treatment options are right for you.

Symptoms can include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Avoiding people or places that bring up bad memories
  • Dissociation
  • Easily startled or angered

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are related to how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Because of this, they often affect how a person relates to others. As well, there are several types of this disorder. These include Antisocial, Avoidant, Borderline, Dependent, Narcissistic, and Histrionic personality disorders for instance.

Personality disorders may develop during childhood. Conversely, they are usually not diagnosed until the person has reached adulthood. Nevertheless, a diagnosis requires evaluation by a mental health expert who will examine long-term patterns and how a person functions.

Symptoms can include:

  • Not treating others well
  • Lacking empathy
  • Feeling shy or sensitive
  • Unpredictable or erratic behaviors
  • Feeling intense emotions
  • Trouble having healthy personal relationships
  • Being highly emotional
  • Attention-seeking behaviors

Causes of Mental Illness in Adult Children

how to support adult children struggling with mental health

Many factors can contribute to a person becoming mentally ill. For that matter, it may not just be 1 thing. Instead, several factors may be at play. However, knowing the causes can help parents learn how to support adult children struggling with mental health.

The three most common factors include:

Environmental Factors

These factors can cause stress, anger, irritability, and depression. They also can be social or economic in nature. They impact relationships and daily living.

Examples of these factors include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Smoking
  • Pollution
  • Exposure to toxins in childhood
  • Unhealthy living conditions and relationships
  • Traumatic events

Genetic Factors

Many mental illnesses run in families. For that reason, it’s important to understand a person’s mental health family history. When a member has a mental illness, others often develop 1 as well.  

Drugs and Alcohol

Addiction can bring on mental illness symptoms. Additionally, it can complicate mental health conditions that already exist. Nonetheless, treatment can help rectify this.

Drugs that can contribute to poor mental health include:

Understanding How to Assist Adult Children Struggling With Mental Health

how to support adult children struggling with mental health

First, educating one’s self about mental illness increases knowledge. Second, this allows someone to support adult children with mental health. Because of this, they can help them overcome the painful effects of poor mental health.

As a consequence, their child will be more likely to open up. Under these circumstances, they prove more likely to ask for and benefit from help.

There are several ways to help support one’s child with mental illness. Not only can someone do what feels comfortable. In fact, they can also branch out to try other approaches.

Ways to Support Adult Children With Mental Health Disorders

Daily Tasks

Ask if they need help with daily chores. These can include house cleaning, grocery shopping, and running errands. As well, you can offer to drive them to appointments. On the other hand, if you live far away, make yourself available by phone, camera, or text.

Provide a Place to Talk

Every parent wants to stay connected to their child. In the event that your child asks to talk, be willing to listen. Not only does this give them an outlet, but it also keeps you in the loop. Ask them if they want you to help them solve a problem or just listen to them vent. In either case, knowing you will listen can help.

Show Empathy

Tell your child you understand they are suffering. Let them know you have sympathy for this. As a result, they may open up more. Sometimes, a person just needs to know someone gets that they are in pain.

Normalize the Situation

To begin with, your child may feel they suffer alone. Remind them many people have at least one mental health issue. Then, tell them you do not judge them for being one of them. In sum, let them know they do not suffer alone.

Offer to Find Help

Initially, your child may be afraid to seek treatment. For that matter, they may not know where to start. Let them know you can help them find a therapist or other forms of help. With this in mind, they may be more likely to accept help.

Dual Diagnosis

About half of all people who have a mental illness also struggle with addiction. Therefore, it’s important to see if your child may deal with both issues. Many treatment plans can help treat both mental illness and addiction.


Initially, some people are wary of using medications to help ease mental health symptoms. However, they can be real game-changers. Ask your child if they use or would consider talking about trying meds to help manage their symptoms. Then, listen to any concerns they have.

The Pandemic Effect

COVID-19 has had a worldwide impact. Not only does it affect physical health, but it also took its toll on mental health. The pandemic also disrupted career development and college for many young adults. Talk to your child about how they are managing the pandemic. It may have brought on or increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and other difficult emotions. With this in mind, they may need to process their feelings.

Mental Health Treatment in Southern California

When your kids suffer, you feel pain, too. In fact, it can be really hard when they are grown up and may not want help. With this in mind, you may be wondering how to support adult children struggling with mental health. If so, we can help.

Launch Centers offers many options to help adult children with mental illness. In fact, we offer treatments that change lives. Additionally, our caring counselors help teach your child to manage their mental health. With this in mind, you can help your child improve their overall mental health. For more information about our mental health treatment options, visit our admissions page today.     

Take action now

Your new life begins today

Change your entire life for the better at Launch Centers Treatment Program in Los Angeles, CA.

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • Conner H.

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me.

  • Nicole Y.

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Jenna S.

    Launch changed our lives. Our family had been battling for years to breakthrough to our brother. No amount of rehab or detox had made a difference. He was listless, lifeless and helpless. We feared for his life everyday. The spirit of, repetition in, core values, appreciation of life and dignity and respect that we found through Launch are unparalleled. I can say with full confidence that we never would have seen my “real” brother again if not for this truly magical combination. We were and still are especially grateful for his over-the-top therapist. Her commitment to his privacy and success coupled with her unwavering contact with any and all of us is what bridged our 3,000 mile separation from him.


Latest Blogs

Apr 18, 2024

5 Great Jobs for Teens with Social Anxiety

Being a teenager is hard. When social anxiety is presen

Apr 18, 2024

10 Mental Health Tips for College Students

College is a significant milestone in one’s academic

Mental Health + Substance Abuse Treatment in Los Angeles
(877) 895-3231