May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month, a monthlong initiative founded by the organization I Am Worth More,  designed to focus our attention on the importance of teens having a healthy outlook on themselves.

Teen self-esteem is crucial because it plays a significant role in their overall well-being. Here are three ways that building a foundation of positive self-image in our teens supports their health and development.

Mental Health

Positive self-esteem is linked to better mental health outcomes among teenagers. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around 20% of adolescents experience a mental health condition in a given year, and low self-esteem is often associated with conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Academic Performance

Self-esteem affects academic performance. A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that students with higher self-esteem had better academic achievement compared to those with lower self-esteem. They were more likely to set higher goals, exhibit greater persistence, and experience academic success.

Risky Behaviors

Teens with low self-esteem are more vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adolescents with low self-esteem are more likely to engage in substance abuse, unsafe sexual behaviors, and have difficulties forming healthy relationships.

While specific statistics on teen self-esteem can vary, these findings highlight the significant impact of self-esteem on various aspects of teenagers' lives, including their mental health, academic performance, future prospects, and relationships. Encouraging and nurturing healthy self-esteem in adolescents is essential for their overall well-being and success. 

As hindsight is 20/20, we asked staff members to dig out the wisdom they wished they had as teens pertaining to self-esteem:

mikeyj teen
 amelia teen brie teen

 

Thank you for sharing your timeless advice with us! We’re sure your teen selves would be proud of the adults you’ve become.

Volunteerism is another factor that has been proven to make a difference in teens’ self-esteem. We really enjoyed reading this article by NPR citing the positive impact that volunteering has on teen mental health.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/13/577463475/helping-strangers-may-help-teens-self-esteem

Since its inception, Family Giving Tree has placed an emphasis on youth volunteerism. Community Volunteer registration opens on June 2nd - a great opportunity to involve your teens in helping to uplift their community. Link to register here — or consider signing up to be a Drive Leader and receive priority registration! For teens with an interest in helping FGT in the off-season reach out to our volunteer coordinator, Shannon Fey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..