Let's Talk Teens and Mental Health
So now that we’ve identified some of the causes, the question becomes how can we help teenagers deal with mental stress? Again, I get requests from parents every week, asking about tips for teens with severe anxiety. Or how can I support my teen through anxiety and depression? So again, I thought I would write a supporting blog to help teenagers and parents through this tumultuous ordeal.
How can teenagers deal with mental distress?
1. Professional Counseling: Mental health professionals, such as psychologists, counselors, and therapists, play a vital role in helping teens cope with anxiety and depression. Through talk therapy and cognitive-behavioral techniques, they assist teens in understanding their emotions, managing stress, and developing healthier coping mechanisms.
2. Medication when Necessary: In severe cases, where anxiety and depression significantly impact daily functioning, a psychiatrist may prescribe medication. Medication can help regulate neurochemical imbalances in the brain and alleviate symptoms, but it is typically used in conjunction with therapy for the best results. (Significant symptoms may include dissociation, high rates of self harm and suicidal ideation, hospitalizations, etc).
3. Supportive Family Environment: Family support is crucial in a teen's recovery journey. Open communication, empathy, and understanding create a safe space for teens to share their feelings and concerns. Family therapy can also be beneficial to address any family dynamics contributing to their anxiety and depression.
4. Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness practices can teach teens to focus on the present moment, reduce rumination, and manage stress. Meditation and deep breathing exercises are effective relaxation techniques that can help alleviate anxiety symptoms.
5. Exercise and Physical Activity: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Encouraging teens to engage in sports, yoga, or other forms of exercise can have a positive impact on their mental health.
6. Limiting Screen Time: Reducing excessive exposure to social media and digital devices can help minimize feelings of inadequacy, comparison, and cyberbullying, which are known triggers for anxiety and depression. (Really no more than 1-2 hours per day of screen time, especially concerning social media.)
7. Peer Support: Group therapy or support groups with peers experiencing similar challenges can provide a sense of belonging and validation. Being able to share experiences and learn from one another can be highly beneficial for teens.
8. School-Based Interventions: Schools can implement programs that focus on mental health awareness, stress management, and emotional well-being. School counselors and teachers can also be trained to recognize signs of anxiety and depression and provide appropriate support.
9. Encourage Hobbies and Interests: Supporting teens in pursuing their passions and hobbies can act as a positive distraction and boost their self-esteem.
10. Regular Check-Ins: Consistent check-ins with mental health professionals and trusted adults can help monitor progress and provide ongoing support.
Of course, there are some other hints and tricks that can be utilized as well; however, this is
a good baseline. It is noted that many people recognize a lot of the suggestions are just the foundations for regular happy life in general. Building a stable healthy connected environment with those around us, has a huge impact in overall mental health and well-being. The key to any happy life is to create a comprehensive support system that addresses their emotional, social, and psychological well-being.
Come heal, grow and create together
Like what you read? Need more? Check out our Information Hub for Advice, Tips and Links to useful places.