Last updated on July 19th, 2022 at 11:59 am
Teenage years can be challenging, and there are way more teens who suffer from depression than most people notice. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that one out of every five adolescents across all kinds of backgrounds would experience depression during their teenage years. Even though depression is readily curable, many depressed teenagers never seek treatment. Many parents often ask themselves, “How to help a teenager with depression?”
Teenage depression is a lot more than mood swings and irritability. It is a serious mental health condition that can affect a teenager’s entire life. It is, however, curable, and parents can help their children. Your love, wisdom, and support can certainly help your teenage child in healing from depression and regain control over their lives.
5 Tips For How To Help A Teenager With Depression
If you are wondering how to help a teenager with depression, following the 5 tips below can make dramatic improvements in your teen.
1. Seek Professional Help
A healthy lifestyle and supportive people can help depressed teenagers a lot, but sometimes they are not enough. If depression is severe, do not be afraid to obtain treatment from a mental health professional who has extensive training and experience working with teenagers with depression.
Include your teen in the treatment decision-making process. Always seek your teen’s opinion when selecting a specialist or exploring therapy choices. Do not make coercive decisions or dismiss your child’s preferences if you want them to be committed and immersed in their treatment. There is no such thing as a miracle therapist, and there is no single treatment program that works for everyone. If your teen is uncomfortable and disconnected from the psychologist or psychiatrist, look for someone more suitable.
For teen depression issues, I always recommend BetterHelp. They have thousands of licensed therapists around the country ready to help. Best of all, it’s very affordable, and online therapy is super convenient.As a BetterHelp afﬁliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.
Consider your alternatives. Expect to talk about depression treatment options for your teen with the professional you’ve chosen. For mild to moderate depression, online talk therapy is frequently an effective first therapeutic option. DBT therapy online may also be an option. Your teen’s depression may improve as a result of counseling. If it still not getting any better, medication might be necessary.
Sadly, some people feel compelled to choose antidepressant medication over more expensive or time-consuming therapy options. You should thoroughly examine your options. However, if your child is behaving dangerously or is at risk of suicide, medication and/or constant observation may be required. Anyhow, antidepressants are most beneficial when used as a component of a broader therapy program.
Medication has its risks. Antidepressants were created for and tested on adults, thus their effects on children’s growing brains are not entirely clear. Some experts believe that medicines like Prozac may disrupt normal brain development, particularly in terms of how the brain controls feelings and handles stress.
Antidepressants have their own set of risks and side effects, along with a variety of concerns about safety for children and young people. They’ve also been linked to an increase in suicidal thoughts and conduct in certain teens and young adults. Teens who have bipolar disorder, have a genetic history of bipolar disorder, or have attempted suicide before are more prone.
2. Prioritize Physical Health
There is a close link between physical and mental health. Inactivity, lack of sleep, and poor diet all contribute to depression. Teens are notorious for their bad habits, which include spending long hours on their phones or computers, going to bed later, and eating junk food. You may, however, combat these behaviors as a parent by creating a home environment that is supportive and healthy.
Get your child some physical activity. Exercise is vital for mental health, so do everything you can to get your teen moving. Teens should aim for at least an hour of physical activity per day, but it doesn’t have to be tedious or difficult. Dancing, playing ball games, skateboarding, hiking, walking the dog, and many other fun things can be done to make exercise enjoyable.
Limit screen time. Teens frequently turn to the internet to avoid their problems, however as screen time increases, physical activity and time with family and friends decreases. Both of these are contributing factors to worsening depression.
Serve healthy meals. Ensure that your child is getting the nourishment they require for optimal brain health and mood support, such as high-quality protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Sugary and starchy foods which are usually eaten by teenagers to make them feel better can only worsen their energy and mood.
Get your teen enough rest. Teenagers require more sleep than grownups to perform at their best. They require up to 9-10 hours every night. Ensure that your child is getting enough vital, mood-boosting sleep.
3. Encourage Social Interactions And Connection
Depressed teenagers tend to isolate themselves from their peers and the things they once liked and enjoyed. Isolation only adds fuel to depression. Hence, you should do everything you can to help your teenager connect with other people.
Prioritize spending time. Make it a habit to communicate each day. Make sure that during this time you are totally engaged with your child with no distractions. The mere act of interacting with your teen face to face can go a long way towards alleviating his or her depressive feelings. Take comfort in knowing that talking about your child’s emotions and depression will not cause worsening symptoms. Your support and guidance can help them get better.
Restrain isolation. Make every effort to keep your teenager connected to other people. Urge them to be with their friends or tell their friends to come over. Take part in events that involve other families to allow your child to interact with other children.
Engage your teen. Encourage your child to join activities that they are talented or interested in. This could be anything like joining school orgs, sports, or a dance, music, or instrument class. At first, they may lack desire or interest, however, they may begin to feel better and rediscover their excitement once they will reconnect themselves to the world.
Encourage the spirit of volunteerism. Helping other people has been proven to be an effective antidepressant and also helps in boosting one’s confidence. Assist your teen in identifying a cause that they are passionate about and that provides them a feeling of purpose. Volunteering with them might also be a great way to bond.
4. Commit to Their Support
The most helpful thing you can do for your depressed child during treatment is to make them feel supported and understood. Your child needs to feel that they are appreciated, loved, and cared for in this tough time.
Be considerate. It can be challenging and exhausting to live with a depressed teen. You may feel drained, rejected, sad, irritated, or have any other negative feelings at times. Nonetheless, it is important to bear in mind that your child is not being troublesome on purpose. Your child is in pain so trying to be patient and empathetic is the most you can do.
Engage in the treatment process. Ensure that your child is adhering to all treatment guidelines, be it going to therapy or taking the medication as prescribed and recommended. Keep track of your teen’s changes in condition and contact a doctor if signs of depression appear to be worsening.
Be patient. Patience is required since the path to your depressed child’s healing may be rough. Small wins should be celebrated, and setbacks should be expected. Most importantly, do not compare your family to others or condemn yourself. You are already doing a good job if you are doing everything you can to get your teen the help he or she needs.
5. Don’t Forget About Yourself And The Rest of the Family
Remember to care for your own needs along with those of the entire family while dealing with your depressed child. During this trying time, though, it is essential that you continue to look after yourself.
Beyond all else, this means seeking necessary help. You won’t be able to handle everything by yourself, so ask for the aid of your family and friends. As you attempt to help your child, having your own support system will help you stay optimistic and healthy.
Don’t keep your feelings pent up. It’s quite normal to feel stressed, disappointed, hopeless, or furious. Call your friends, join a support network, or schedule an appointment with your own therapist. Alleviating the built-up tension could be as simple as expressing your emotions.
Take care of your health. The stress of your child’s condition can affect your own emotional state, hence it is important to take care of your own health and well-being by eating well, sleeping adequately, and allocating time for things you like.
Maintain an open line of communication with your family. Don’t shy around the subject of depression. When there is something wrong with a child, they are aware of it. And when they are left confused, their minds typically come up with considerably worse scenarios. Allow your children to ask questions and express their feelings by being transparent about what is going on.
Keep the siblings in mind. Ensure that healthy children are not overlooked because depression in one child often induces stress or anxiety in other family members. To deal with their thoughts and emotions about the circumstance, siblings may require extra personal attention or professional assistance.
Refrain from blaming. It can be convenient to blame yourself or other family members for your child’s depression, however, this simply adds to the burden. Moreover, since depression is caused by a wide range of factors, it is rare that any specific person is responsible for it unless it is a case of neglect or abuse.
I understand that even in the best of circumstances it can be difficult to deal with teenager problems. Teen mental health issues further compound the situation. But understand that there is hope. The tips that we provided in this article are a great start for how to help a teenager with depression.
Remember, you don’t need to deal with these issues alone. Seeking the help of an online therapist is the perfect first step toward resolving your teenager’s depression issues. It doesn’t have to be difficult to find help for depression near you or online.As a BetterHelp afﬁliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.