Skills For Coping With Teenage Depression
Teenage depression is on the rise, and a lot of factors contribute to this situation. From academic stressors, peer pressure, family and societal issues, to hormones and body changes, the adolescent mind is highly susceptible to stress which can often lead to the development of depressive symptoms. So its really important for teens and their support system to work on ways to cope to minimize the impact that their triggers and stressors have on their overall wellbeing.
The right approach to coping with teenage depression combines medication management, therapeutic interventions, and self-help strategies that help the adolescent easily manage the immense feelings of helplessness, doubt, anger, sadness, and confusion. Professionals at BasePoint Academy help teenagers with mental health needs live normal lives. Contact us to get help for a depressed young man or woman.
How Is Teen Depression Diagnosed
There aren’t any specific medical tests that can detect depression. Health care professionals determine if a teen has depression by conducting interviews and psychological tests with the teen and their family members, teachers, and peers.
The severity of the teen depression and the risk of suicide are determined based on the assessment of these interviews. Treatment recommendations are also made based on the data collected from the interviews.
The doctor will also look for signs of potentially co-existing psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or substance abuse or screen for complex forms of depression such as bipolar disorder or psychosis. The doctor will also assess the teen for risks of suicide or homicide. Incidences of attempted suicide and self-mutilation is higher in females than males while completed suicide is higher in males. One of the most vulnerable groups for completed suicide is the 18-24 age group.
The United States Preventive Service Task Force now recommends screening for anxiety in children and adolescents ages 8 to 18 years and screening for major depressive disorder in adolescents ages 12 to 18 years.
Parents Guide To Teen Depression
Teen depression can cause a lot of damage if its not addressed. Therefore, you dont want to wait until an adolescent is struggling with suicidal ideations or self-harm thoughts and behaviors before you take action. When you notice some of the symptoms weve mentioned above, approach them with love and without judgment to help. Sometimes depression wont be the problem but the symptoms should be addressed before they cause it.
For instance, a teenager might be involved in drug use because of peer pressure. Get to them and find a solution quickly before it causes depression.
You have to be open to discussion and let them understand your concerns. Let the teen tell you what is happening in their life. Ask questions but not too many so that they dont feel crowded and patronized. Sometimes what theyll say will not be what you think, so be ready to listen and trust what they tell you. Here are some pointers to keep you in check:
- Dont lecture your teen, listen to what they have to say
- They might shut you out at first, so be persistent but gentle
- Take their feelings seriously, dont downplay even the irrational feelings
- Find a trusted third party if you are unsuccessful accessing them
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Are Teens Today Unprepared For Lifes Challenges
Some of the experts believe that we have raised our teens to have unrealistic expectations. Along with the messages from modern media sources that suggest that we should always feel good, they say many parents havent taught their kids the kind of coping skills they need to survive in chaotic times.
Being Available To Talk
Your young person might not want to talk when you approach them. While its not helpful to push them to open up, its important for them to know that when they feel up to it, youll be there for them.
Sometimes, talking to an adult friend can be easier than a parent, so if theres someone close to your child, consider having a chat to them about this and asking them to reach out. For example, your teen might feel more comfortable talking to an aunt, a sports coach, a teacher or their friends parent. Remember: if theyd rather talk to someone else, this doesnt mean that youve done anything wrong.
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What To Do When Your Teen Is Depressed
Youve read over the above list and are pretty sure that your teen is depressed. Now what? Here are some things you can do to help your teen with depression.
1. Talk to Your Teen
Find out as much as possible by asking lots of questions. For example, Ive noticed that your schoolwork is suffering. You want to talk about it? or Im concerned that youve been spending a lot of time in your room and not going out with your friends? Is there something with which I can help?
2. Take Your Teen to a Mental Health Professional
You may or may not be on the right track suspecting your teen is depressed. Like I mentioned, sometimes, its difficult to decipher your teens mood. Thats why a professionaltherapist, psychiatrist, or doctorcan either confirm or allay your suspicions and either point you in the right direction to get your child help or tell you to keep an eye on things and give it a little more time.
3. Explain Your Reasons for Concern.
You may want to express your concerns to your teen and the reasons why youre having them. For instance, you might say, I am concerned that you might be depressed. Heres why Then, list the reasons. Furthermore, you can say, If you are feeling depressed, I just want you to know that theres help out there.
Putting words to what your teen is feeling will validate their experience. Often, having words to our experiences can be a great relief.
4. Consider Medications
6. Lifestyle Adjustments
Be your childs advocate!
Depression In Teens: The Warning Signs And How To Help Them Through
One of the things that can make depression so difficult to recognise is that the symptoms can be things we all struggle with from time to time sadness, hopelessness, lethargy, lack of engagement. When these very normal human experiences happen in a combination, duration or intensity that start to interfere with day-to-day life , its possible that depression might be waving a heavy hand over your teen.
During adolescence, the rates of depression skyrocket. According to the World Health Organisation, depression is the number one cause of illness and disability in adolescents. But theres something else. Research shows that in half of all adults who have problems with their mental health, their symptoms showed up before age 14. Three-quarters had symptoms by age 24. This puts flashing lights around the importance of noticing when our teens are struggling and making sure they get the support they need. The earlier symptoms are caught, the easier it will be to stop those symptoms expanding into something bigger and more difficult to shift.
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How To Communicate With A Depressed Teen
Focus on listening, not lecturing. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your teenager begins to talk. The important thing is that your child is communicating. Youll do the most good by simply letting your teen know that youre there for them, fully and unconditionally.
Be gentle but persistent. Dont give up if they shut you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Even if they want to, they may have a hard time expressing what theyre feeling. Be respectful of your childs comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.
Acknowledge their feelings. Dont try to talk your teen out of depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Well-meaning attempts to explain why things arent that bad will just come across as if you dont take their emotions seriously. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing can go a long way in making them feel understood and supported.
Trust your gut. If your teen claims nothing is wrong but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. If your teen wont open up to you, consider turning to a trusted third party: a school counselor, favorite teacher, or a mental health professional. The important thing is to get them talking to someone.
Impact On School Performance
Below are some of the ways depression can impact kids at school:
Even if your child is only experiencing a few of the above symptoms, you can see how it would affect their school performance. Here are some tips and strategies for school success when your child has depression.
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Suicide Warning Signs To Watch For
- Talking or joking about committing suicide
- Saying things like, Id be better off dead,I wish I could disappear forever, or Theres no way out
- Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying
- Writing stories and poems about death, dying, or suicide
- Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
- Giving away prized possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for the last time
- Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves
Get help for a suicidal teen
If you suspect that a teenager is suicidal, take immediate action! For 24-hour suicide prevention and support in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP or Suicide.org.
To learn more about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and what to do in a crisis, read Suicide Prevention.
Depression Symptoms In Teens: Why Todays Teens Are More Depressed Than Ever
After a decline in the 1990s, the number of young people that commit suicide has been increasing every year. While no one can explain exactly why, many experts say adolescents and teens today probably face more pressures at home or school, worry about financial issues for their families, and use more alcohol and drugs. This is a very dangerous time for our young people, Kathy Harms, a staff psychologist at Kansas Citys Crittenton Childrens Center, told the Portland Press Herald. Were seeing more anxiety and depression in children of all ages.
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Helping A Depressed Teen Tip : Encourage Social Connection
Depressed teens tend to withdraw from their friends and the activities they used to enjoy. But isolation only makes depression worse, so do what you can to help your teen reconnect.
Make face time a priority. Set aside time each day to talktime when youre focused totally on your teen, without distractions or trying to multi-task. The simple act of connecting face to face can play a big role in reducing your teens depression. And remember: talking about depression or your teens feelings will not make the situation worse, but your support can make all the difference in their recovery.
Combat social isolation. Do what you can to keep your teen connected to others. Encourage them to go out with friends or invite friends over. Participate in activities that involve other families and give your child an opportunity to meet and connect with other kids.
Try to reduce their social media use. Remind your teen that social media isnt an ideal substitute for face-to-face interactions. Encourage them to turn off their phoneor at least disable notificationswhen socializing in person, focusing on work, or preparing for bed.
Get your teen involved. Suggest activitiessuch as sports, after-school clubs, or an art, dance, or music classthat take advantage of your teens interests and talents. While your teen may lack motivation and interest at first, as they reengage with the world, they should start to feel better and regain their enthusiasm.
How To Help A Teen With Depression
People who are experiencing depression often do not want to seek help. they might beg, get upset with you, or become violent when you suggest it. Even if your concerns are met with such resistance, seeking help is crucial. Working with a mental health professional and your family doctor is the best beginning strategy for a teen suffering from depression.
Support your teen’s daily routines, such as taking medications and eating well. Encourage healthy self-help strategies, and make sure your home is a safe, comforting place.
If your teen is diagnosed with depression, educate yourself about this condition so you can understand what your teen is going through. Be available to listen, and encourage your teen to talk about anything that’s bothering them.
Teens And Adolescents Struggling With Depression
Having periods of sadness, sleepiness, or grumpiness is normal for teens. However, when these symptoms become pervasive and last for an extended period of time, it may be a sign of something more serious going on, such asteen depression. Unfortunately, over 16 million people in the U.S. have an episode of major depression each year. For teens, one in five will develop depression before they turn 25, and 13.3% of kids ages 1217 will have at least one major depressive episode.
Unfortunately, 60% of teens do not receive treatment. This is a major problem in the U.S., as 7.4% of teens grades 912 have attempted suicide in the past year. These statistics are taken from research from a few years ago, so considering the current social climate, its fairly safe to say that these numbers are actually much higher today.
The good news is that youve landed on this page for a reason and will not be contributing to the 60% of teens whose symptoms go untreated, which can lead to greater issues later on in life.
Speak Openly And Frequently About Mental Health
Talking about mental health openly and normalizing struggles sets a safe environment for youth to feel more comfortable opening up and asking for help. Conversations might also give insight into whats causing or contributing to their depression and what type of support they need.
When speaking to your teen, your tone of voice should be calm, and your words should be free of judgement. Teens experiencing depression may be particularly sensitive to criticism, so acknowledging their feelings and asking them what they think might help without interrupting or judging can be a helpful approach. Many teens may have an idea of what they need already. Try to be flexible and open to their thoughts and suggestions.
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The Importance Of Accepting And Sharing Your Feelings
It can be hard to open up about how youre feelingespecially when youre feeling depressed, ashamed, or worthless. Its important to remember that many people struggle with feelings like these at one time or anotherit doesnt mean that youre weak, fundamentally flawed, or no good. Accepting your feelings and opening up about them with someone you trust will help you feel less alone.
Even though it may not feel like it at the moment, people do love and care about you. If you can muster the courage to talk about your depression, it canand willbe resolved. Some people think that talking about sad feelings will make them worse, but the opposite is almost always true. It is very helpful to share your worries with someone who will listen and care about what you say. They dont need to be able to fix you they just need to be good listeners.
Try These 13 Coping Skills For Teens To Deal With Stress Anxiety And More
Here are some healthy coping skills, arranged into different categories, to help you deal with various struggles that many of us will encounter during our lives, especially during our teenager years. Learning coping techniques to deal with these things now is beneficial because youll carry these positive coping skills with you for the rest of your life.
Please note that even though these coping skills for teens are sorted into different categories, you can use any of these coping techniques for any issue that youre struggling with.
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Tip : Try Not To Isolate Yourselfit Makes Depression Worse
Depression causes many of us to withdraw into our shells. You may not feel like seeing anybody or doing anything and some days just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult. But isolating yourself only makes depression worse. So even if its the last thing you want to do, try to force yourself to stay social. As you get out into the world and connect with others, youll likely find yourself starting to feel better.
Spend time face-to-face with friends who make you feel goodespecially those who are active, upbeat, and understanding. Avoid hanging out with those who abuse drugs or alcohol, get you into trouble, or make you feel judged or insecure.
Get involved in activities you enjoy . Getting involved in extracurricular activities seem like a daunting prospect when youre depressed, but youll feel better if you do. Choose something youve enjoyed in the past, whether it be a sport, an art, dance or music class, or an after-school club. You might not feel motivated at first, but as you start to participate again, your mood and enthusiasm will begin to lift.
Volunteer. Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and happiness booster. Volunteering for a cause you believe in can help you feel reconnected to others and the world, and give you the satisfaction of knowing youre making a difference.
How To Deal With Depression As A Teenager
Are you going through difficulties in your workplace, schoolwork, parents, friends, or relationship? These are the most common areas that lead to depression. If you have encountered a lack of sleep, severe headache,hatred, or even low self-esteem, its an indication of depression.
As a young person, its always advisable to learn that these are challenges that most people go through. Countering them the best way means success in all you are doing.
If your depression level is extreme, finding the best therapist or a counselor is advisable. In the meantime, you need to learn how to deal with it efficiently at your home.
Here, we have some of the easiest ways to deal with depression as a young person.
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