How can I help my teen battling with depression? Depression is a serious illness. Helping your teen learn coping skills through depression is imperative.
Those who suffer from it may lose interest in the activities that mattered most to them in the past, experience deep and constant sadness, and find it hard to stay motivated.
Unfortunately, thousands of people of all ages struggle with this condition every day, including children and teens. The reasons for depression are plenty, being the result of undergoing a traumatic event, drug and alcohol misuse, early childhood experiences, and many others.
However, here is another fact about depression: it can be overcome. The problem with this is not knowing the necessary steps required to conquer this illness.
Therefore, parents whose teen is battling depression may find it hard to provide help. If you are one of those parents, do not worry. You will find ways to provide support to your teen during these hard times.
Finding Professional Help
No parent is expected to “cure” their teenager on their own. On the contrary, contacting medical experts is a pivotal step. After all, mental health professionals studied for decades to thoroughly understand this topic.
The main problem is not in finding a psychologist, psychiatrist, or pediatrician, since there are lots of professionals experts in treating minors. The real issue is convincing your teen to attend a session with a mental health expert. New experiences are scary, so your teen could initially (and understandably) refuse help.
The solution is to make them understand that going to therapy is a common experience; as common and as essential as going to school or the dentist. Consider the following: if your teen feels a pain in the teeth, you take them to the dentist. If they cannot see well, you take them to the ophthalmologist. Now, if they are emotionally or mentally hurt, why wouldn’t they consult a mental health expert?
All in all, stay calm when talking about it. Share positive experiences of your own in case you have them, and encourage your teen to give therapy a try.
Talking About It
There is no shame in depression. There is nothing to hide. One needs to openly support their teen by providing a space for sharing thoughts and emotions without judgment. In reality, addressing the problem prevents it from escalating and getting bigger.
With this in mind, you can do hundreds of activities with your teen to lessen the pressure of having depression. Motivate them to write down or draw about their problems, or read them inspirational mental health quotes to help them change their perceptions of the condition. Share your own emotions regarding that problem or maybe any other issues you have experienced in the past. Let the teen know they have loving parents who will do anything to take care of them.
Depression and isolation are strongly connected. Lack of motivation or lack of willingness to indulge in activities leads to disconnection from friends and family members. It is a must, then, to encourage your teenager to reconnect with their most important people.
Let them have sleepovers at your house with their friends. Accompany them when attending social events, parties, or any other activity.
Also, provide help when dealing with hard tasks. For instance, if your teen finds it nearly impossible to clean their room, do not reprimand them. Simply propose cleaning the room together, little by little, or at least a certain area of the room. Once the job is done, reward the effort with a delicious meal or some candy.
Apply this to everything, from doing homework and taking out the trash, to brushing their teeth. After all, depressed people find it too hard to accomplish any of these tasks. By reconnecting with the joy they get from activities, your teen will slowly get back on track.
We are aware that depression is not just a hard situation for teens who suffer from it. It is also difficult for those around them like their parents, friends, and family members will understandably feel confused and deeply worried. Although depression itself must be taken seriously, it is not an abnormality. It is a problem, but one that, with compassion and help, can be solved.
Have you exhausted your local resources, including medical experts and short-term hospital stays? Contact us to learn more about how therapeutic boarding schools can benefit teens struggling with depression through behavioral therapy and enrichment programs.
Images provided by Unsplash.com