How Joining Clubs Helps Improve Teen Mental Health

Date Posted

August 22, 2023


Nina Kremer

Students at an Afterschool Club

It can be difficult for teens who struggle with mental health to enjoy school. Assignments can be overwhelming, grades can be defeating, and social relationships can be stressful to navigate. If your child is struggling with back-to-school anxiety or is avoiding attending school, this article will tell you about how extracurricular clubs help improve teen mental health. For introverted students, this may seem like a socially draining time commitment. Even so, participating in clubs and activities can have a tremendously positive impact on their overall high school experience.

Clubs help teen mental health by scheduling self-care time

One way to improve teens’ mental health is by helping them identify opportunities to pursue self-care activities that they enjoy. If they enjoy hiking, they could join the outdoors club. Passionate about social issues? They could join the environmental club. If they play music, they could join the band or choir. Having a scheduled time to participate in that activity gives them something to look forward to after school, helping to relieve the stress they may have been feeling throughout the day.

With your child, take a look at the clubs and activities that their school offers to see if any of them seem like a good fit. If nothing comes to mind, see if they might be willing to try something new. While that may seem challenging, it is a good way to explore activities that they can engage in to alleviate stress, and nurture their creativity.

Clubs help to foster friendships

High school can be a complicated and distressing social environment. Fortunately, clubs facilitate social interaction by providing a safe space to meet and engage with peers that have similar interests. This fosters social connectedness, which improves resilience, boosts self-esteem, and is a protective factor against suicide.

Maintaining healthy friendships is essential for teens’ mental health. By joining a club and meeting new people, teens can make friends who will support them through tough times. These friendships can make their school experience much more positive and help improve their attendance.

Clubs help teen mental health by developing soft skills

Soft skills – interpersonal and analytical abilities like communication skills, reasoning, and teamwork – help teens interact with others in a working environment and develop a good work ethic. These skills are necessary to success whether transitioning to college or entering the workforce. However, for teens with mental health struggles, it may seem difficult or daunting to find an opportunity to develop them.

Clubs can provide a low stress environment in which to do so. By working together with their peers on a project, they can practice collaboration, organization, communication, problem solving, and other useful skills that will serve them well throughout their high school career and beyond.

Clubs help to create a sense of community

Belonging to a club means more than just being a member of a group, it means being a part of a community. Finding a supportive community can counteract the feelings of loneliness and depression, thus improving mental health. Mental health advocacy clubs or Gay-Straight Alliance groups can be good outlets for teens to feel welcome and connected.

Having a role in a club gives teens a sense of purpose and pride, and motivates them to meaningfully contribute to something positive and energizing. Clubs provide teens with a feeling of belonging that bolsters their mental wellness and a safe space to recharge throughout the stressful school year.

As a new school year begins, encourage your teen to follow their passion with others. Whether it involves art, theater, Model United Nations, debate, yearbook, social advocacy, cultural identity, being outdoors, robotics, coding, cooking, or volunteering, participating in a club can help them to feel like a part of something bigger than themselves. By serving as a time for self-care, helping them foster friendships, developing their soft skills, and providing them with a sense of community, your teen’s participation in clubs can have an immensely positive impact on their mental health.