By Michelle Robinson, LCSW
Teenagers witness a series of emotions and challenges after attaining adolescence that can trigger mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Right from handling the changes that one experiences during the puberty phase to finding answers to questions like what they aspire to become in future to peer pressure, teens are expected to tackle each and every aspect of their lives themselves.
Often, this leaves many of them reeling under pressure from parents, school and even friends. Gradually, they begin to experience a lot of stress, mood swings and severe depression, which eventually affects their physical and mental health adversely.
So, if you have a teenaged daughter or son who is experiencing similar situations and emotions, then read on to find out what you can do to make them feel better.
Symptoms and Signs of Teen Anxiety and Depression
Teenagers are highly dependent on their parents when it comes to seeking regarding matters related to personal life, social life, and even studies. They want their parents to understand the reason behind their suffering and further give them unconditional love and support. Thus, if you feel that your teenager child is experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression then watch out for a couple of signs and symptoms like:
- Hopelessness and sadness.
- Anger and irritability.
- Crying frequently.
- Disinterested in family and friends.
- Showing no interest in their favorite activities.
- Poor performance at school.
- Changed sleeping and eating habits.
- Though of suicide and death.
- Lack of concentration, fatigue, and restlessness.
- No motivation or enthusiasm.
Thus, if you feel or suspect that your child is experiencing one or many of the above symptoms, then it is always a good idea to speak with them. The first step towards comforting your child is to accept that he/she is facing a genuine problem and needs to be handled with a lot of care, love, and tender affection. Typically, you shouldn’t be judging your child and instead focus on understanding the root cause of their pain and suffering.
Tips for Handing a Depression in Teens
From the moment you discover that your teen is experiencing depression, stop criticizing or questioning them. The best way to tackle your depressed child is to be gentle and kind to them. Here’s what parents must really do to help their child overcome depression and stress:
- Pay attention to their feelings, emotions, and stories.
- Show concern and don’t give up easily.
- Accept that they are experiencing stress and depression and support them unconditionally.
- Focus on gaining their trust instead of pestering them to open up even if they do not want to.
- Encourage your teenager son/daughter to socialize with friends and family members instead of spending time alone and in depression.
- Set time aside to talk to them on a daily basis.
- Involve them in some of their favorite activities like dance, music, art, sports, etc.
- Encourage them to volunteer and help others.
In a nutshell, if your teenage daughter or son is suffering from severe depression or anxiety, you need to get them help. Together, you should explore different options that can further aid you in relieving anxiety and depression from his/her life. One of the best ways to do this? Seek the help of a professional to guide and urge your child in a positive direction.