How to Help Your Teen Suffering with Depression
Teen years are extremely tough. Did you know that 1 in 5 adolescents suffer from depression? The good news is that this mental health problem is treatable but most depressed teens have no idea how to ask for help.
Hence, parents should be able to tell the signs of depression, which usually include:
· Running away from home after a fight
· Problems at school
· Alcohol and drug abuse
· Tech and social media addiction
· Low self-esteem
· Lack of interest
· Thoughts of suicide
· Reckless behavior
As you read, teen depression is more than just moodiness. So, how can a parent push their teen out of despair and into the light again?
Below are some tips on how to treat teen depression:
Explain to Your Teen What Depression Is
If you recognize the depression signs, it doesn’t mean that your teen will know what they are going through. So, the first step is to educate them about depression. Ask them how they feel and then validate their feelings. For example, “I know you are feeling tired and lonely. It might seem like you are carrying the weight of the world, and everything seems out of your reach. This is not your own doing. It’s your depression talking. It’s a mental illness, and like any other illness, it can be treated.” Such words can be comforting and will allow your teen to tap into their stress management skills now that they know what they are going through.
Get Them Support
As a parent, you might not have the right tools to support your kid in what they are going through. The best way to tackle this is to get them into a support group with people who are going through something similar. Talking with these people will give your teen perspective, motivation, and hope that depression does not mean the end of their life.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Teens who are depressed like to stay cooped up at home. Parents need to encourage them to join the world and make sure they are in familiar surroundings. However, the dynamics of the family need to change, such as spending more time together, doing an activity, etc. Since depression also affects health, other changes that need to be made to their daily routine are exercising, eating healthy, dedicated bedtimes, and engaging in social activities.
Encourage Supportive Relationships
If your teen has a friend who you think is the cause of depression, you need to set some boundaries. Peer pressure and bullying are the top two causes of teen depression and can take a heavy toll on an individual. Talk to your teen’s teachers, the school’s principal, and the bully’s parents to solve this problem. Keep a close eye on all your teen’s friends so you can spot the good ones and be supportive of their relationships.
Never make any judgments when your teen is going through such a tough time. Before asking questions, listen to what they have to say and then offer advice as a concerned parent.