Depression is a very common mental health condition, and a large percentage of the population experiences it at some point in their lives. In particular, many people experience depression during their tumultuous teenage years. With hormones raging and many huge life changes happening, mental health issues like depression can rise to the surface. If your teenage son or daughter is suffering with depression, it can be very difficult to watch. Here are some tips that you can use to help your teen during this challenging time.
Know the signs.
It’s important to know the signs so you can recognize and help teenager with depression if it happens to your child. General signs of depression include mood swings, intense sadness, lethargy, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns. You may also notice a change in their performance at school and their social life. They may engage in reckless behavior as well.
It can be tempting to try and fix your teen’s problems for them by offering suggestions and advice. However, for someone deep in the throes of depression, those suggestions are likely to fall on deaf ears. Instead, be an active listener for your teen, and try to stay as compassionate as possible, without passing judgement. In order to take further steps to help your teen’s depression, you will need to build a strong rapport, and they need to know that they can come to you for help. However, you want to make sure not to reinforce the unhealthy behavior.
Give them opportunities to get out of the house.
If you try to force your teen to be social or participate in activities they once loved, your efforts may backfire. Instead, try gently suggesting fun, low-stress activities when they fit into your schedule, like going to a movie or grabbing dinner. For those struggling with depression, just leaving the house can feel overwhelming, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them.
Acknowledge the positives.
For a teen struggling with depression, normal activities like going to school or even just hanging out with friends suddenly feel much more challenging than they used to. Give your teen praise and positive reinforcement when they do something good for their mental health. This not only will give them some much needed encouragement, but will show them that you understand what they are going through.
Help your teen find therapy that works.
Getting into therapy is an important step towards recovery for anyone with depression. Make sure your teen knows that therapy is an option for them. They might not be open to it right away, but it is very important that you continue to offer it. Research therapists in your area and give them a few options to choose from. Not every therapist is going to be a good fit, so it’s important for your teen to choose one they feel comfortable with.
If your teen is struggling with depression, visit pathwaysreallife.com for more information about treatment and recovery.