Teen Social Isolation: The Dangers of Being Alone

Teen social isolation isn’t always abnormal. Sometimes we just need some time alone to think, process, and work through things–sometimes it’s more dubious. For many struggling with issues like depression, they aren’t sure what to do so they isolate themselves and don’t reach out to anyone for help. They retreat into themselves hoping to figure it out alone–but that often doesn’t work.
Instead, it can actually worsen an issue such as depression.

It’s more than just being lonely

Loneliness–we all feel it at some point, but for some people it’s all the time. A mental health issue can make an individual feel incredibly alone if they aren’t sure what to do in order to get help; this is often the case with young people.
Teen social isolation can be involuntary or voluntary, but either way it can be harmful–especially if the individual is already dealing with a mental health issue like depression.
teen social isolationFor some teens, they’re afraid to tell others what they’re feeling. They’re afraid to tell even their closest friends out of fear that they’ll think they’re “weird” or “broken” in some way. Mental illness is still shrouded by stigma, making it hard for adolescents to step forward and seek out support.
The loneliness this creates can be amazingly harmful.
Humans are social creatures. We need social interaction and stimulation to stay healthy, otherwise we turn to unsavory methods of coping (queue Wilson from Cast Away).
Being alone for lengthy amounts of time–I’m talking days, not a few hours to reboot–is associated with a greater risk of sickness, alcohol abuse, increased weight, poorer diet, decreased exercise, and a decreased lifespan.
Social interaction is essential to overall health. It’s connected to our mental and physical selves, making it important for parents to keep an eye out for teen social isolation.

How to intervene in teen social isolation

If you’ve noticed your teen never mentions friends or wants to go meet with peers outside of school, it may be time to intervene. This doesn’t mean therapy per se (not yet, at least).
A good way to intervene is to get your teen involved in activities outside of school. Ask what their interests are and go off of that. For example, let’s say they’re into art. Offer to sign them up for art classes every week. It gets them out of the house and interacting with others in a medium that they enjoy, making it more likely that they’ll open up.

Trails Carolina is here for your family

Searching for the right program that fits your struggling teen can be a lengthy process. If traditional outpatient therapies aren’t offering improvements, it might be time to look into a wilderness therapy program like Trails Carolina.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for teens, ages 10 to 17, struggling with issues such as depression, teen social isolation, anxiety, ADHD and many others. We strive to create meaningful change within our students through the use of individual, group, family, equine and wilderness therapy. We can help your family recover.
For more information about how we help teen social isolation, contact us today at 800-975-7303.

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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: https://trailscarolina.com/common-ground-podcast/ With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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