Statistics on teenagers suffering from depression and other mental ailments are alarming. Various studies suggest that 1 in 4 teens suffer from some sort of mental illness. Teenage mental illness, to include depression, can have dire consequences. Teenage suicide is on the rise. It is the third leading cause of death in the age bracket of 15 to 24 years. Dealing with depression in teens is an important step in reducing these numbers in our society.
Many things can lead to depression. A teenager is just learning how to handle the pressures and emotions of an adult. Only 30% of teens suffering seek help. The others just suffer through and do their best to get through. Adults have difficulty dealing with many things, asking a teenager to deal with it on their own, is not be the best option.
Learning the signs of depression for our youth can be difficult. Depressed teenagers are often just seen as being a teen. Signs of irritability, fatigue, withdrawal and changes of eating and sleeping habits, are seen as normal signs of growing up and hormone surges. They are also signs of depression. Learning the difference in your teen’s behavior may be key in getting them the help that they need.
Learning to talk to your teen may be your best investment in their mental health. Parents and adults in a teen’s life struggle with this aspect. They often want to see the teen as still a child where the teen wants to be seen as an adult. Learning to bridge this gap and communicate efficiently may be a daunting task, but can be managed.
An adult should learn to offer support when conversing with a teenager. Let them know you are there for them. Ensure them that you are available to them at any time. Show them that you can listen without being judgmental. Don’t try to talk them out of the way that they feel. Show them that you can understand and give them the help that they need to deal with how they are feeling.
Trust your own instincts. If you have a teenager that is showing signs of depression get them help. Trusting your own feelings and emotions may be what sets the teen on the road to better mental health. They may resist getting help at first. Be firm. Let them know you are there for them and willing to work with them, but insist that they find someone they can work with to help them through this difficult time in their life.
Often a teen will find it easier to speak with someone other than a parent. Consider a peer mentor for your teen. These are teens that are trained to work with others. They become a positive influence. Teen mentors can become a confidant and will be there for the teen that may be in trouble otherwise.
Teenage depression is a serious problem, but can be treated. Learn to recognize the symptoms and get help as soon as possible. Turn the teen in your life into a success story instead of a statistic.
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