Best Tips for Managing Anxiety and Depression in Teens
Parenting a teenager with mental health issues can be extremely challenging. Not only are the teenage years naturally a little more difficult, but watching a child you love struggle with sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and more can be heartbreaking. If you love a teenager and are looking for ways to help them to manage symptoms of stress and anxiety, read on for some ideas that may help.
Taking Time Away from Stressors
In the middle of a global pandemic, teenagers are no different from anyone else when it comes to increased rates of depression and anxiety. Remote schooling, social isolation, canceled milestone events, and more have led to record numbers of teens feeling depressed and anxious. One great way to help struggling adolescents is to come up with ways they can get together with their friends safely. Whether this means outdoor backyard parties with groups of friends and a Google search for “water slide rentals near me” to find party clowns and fun games or encouraging your teen to celebrate their next big event or milestone with a virtual party, helping a teen to stay connected to peers is a great way to counteract depressive symptoms.
Finding a Good Therapist
Many parents don’t realize that their teen doesn’t have to have a diagnosed depressive disorder, suicidal ideation, or an ongoing relationship with a school counselor or adolescent therapist to receive adolescent psychiatry services. The truth is that master’s level clinicians can help with anxiety and depression in teens regardless of if your child has a social anxiety disorder, major depression, or is at risk for suicide. In fact, in getting your teen into counseling when depressive symptoms first appear, you’ll be giving them the opportunity to learn cognitive behavioral therapy skills that will help reduce symptoms of anxiety and give them hope earlier on than other parents might.
For parents worried about the stigma associated with psychotherapy for teens, it’s important to realize that having a licensed professional keeping their eyes on your teen as your teen navigates puberty and anxiety or depression symptoms is a great safety net. While some parents prefer to discuss challenges only with family members, reaching out to a professional counselor is a great way to help your child through hard times.
Identifying a Trusted Network
If you’re parenting an anxious teen who’s resistant to therapy, consider helping them list off friendships that are important to them. This is an effective way to remind them that there are people in their local area who care about them and who they can turn to when experiencing emotional pain. Identifying a natural support network and helping with those social connections is a great first step in helping your child feel less alone.
Unplugging from Social Media
This generation of teens has had more exposure to the internet and social media than any other. In fact, they can’t remember a time without the World Wide Web and weren’t born until after the introduction of social media. For this reason, many teens struggle with online pressures that parents have trouble understanding. Try having an open conversation with your teen about their time online and whether they feel safe, pressured, or bullied on the internet. Even for teens with great online experiences, unplugging for a bit can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In the end, one of the best things you can do for a teenager you care about who struggles with depression, or other mental health symptoms, is to be there for them. Consistently checking in on them, offering them professional help, having honest conversations, and lending an ear when they need to talk, but also giving them space to work things out for themselves, are all great ways to help a teen face struggles and challenges along the way. Advocating for the child you love and helping them take appropriate medications is important, too. In standing by your teenager during challenging times, you’ll be reminding them that they aren’t alone and giving them hope for a better future.