Watching a child struggle with depression or another mental health illness can be one of the most difficult things a parent faces. Unfortunately, it’s relatively common for teenagers to go through periods of sadness and hopelessness. Especially after school closings and shutdowns in a global pandemic as well as COVID-19 long-haul symptoms, more teens than ever are struggling with their mental health and feelings of isolation. If your child is showing signs of depression, there are ways you can help. For things to consider and steps to take when it comes to helping your depressed adolescent, read on.
Contact the professionals
Raising a child suffering from depression, having suicidal thoughts, grappling with low self-esteem, or being in need of antidepressants can be challenging to handle on your own. One of the best things you can do for your child if they are experiencing symptoms of depression or struggling with substance abuse is to reach out to professionals. Licensed therapists and counselors can help you and your teen explores a number of options including outpatient treatment programs, individual therapy, and residential treatment programs. They can also point you in the direction of family therapy and group therapy that will help your teen with coping skills.
Start with a Google search with the area you live in such as “Therapy Group of Charlotte” or “counselors in New York” and look for clinical teams and therapists who specialize in teens or children. These licensed professionals will be able to help a child suffering from teen depression through a variety of therapies and treatments. They can support you through the process, too, and allow for your input on your teen’s treatment plan.
Offer options for support
After you’ve talked to a mental health professional about options for therapy, it’s important to have an honest discussion with your teenager about their preferences for professional treatment. A teen considering going to a quality teen depression rehab for help with anxiety or low self-esteem will likely have questions about how this type of program can help their overall mental wellness and decrease adolescent depression. As a parent, it will be important to reassure your child about how therapy can offer life skills and coping skills to improve everyday life for them.
When possible, give your team choices around their treatment options. While there will be situations where your teenage girl or boy isn’t able to make their own decisions around talk therapy or difficult situations, it’s still a good idea to be honest with them about the interventions you’re considering to help them in their healing process. Doing so will help them better understand that you’re there for them and are offering a helping hand.
Whether your child experiences major depression, self-loathing, or serious self-injurious behaviors, one of the best things you can do for them is to listen. No matter what family conflict may be impacting your current environment, teens do better in therapy with the support of a parent willing to lend an ear. Instead of lecturing about concerns like addiction issues, consider meeting with a therapist yourself to learn how to listen to your teen.
Give your child opportunities to change things
For some kids, being in a supportive or new environment is critical to real-life recovery. Offer your child new activities, situations, and opportunities for growth. You can help your teen by exposing them to new people, places, and things and could even participate in new activities with them as they manage their recovery.
In the end, one of the best things you can do for your teenager is to be available, supportive, and ready to help out as needed. From offering a listening ear to getting them the help they deserve and being open-minded about solutions, you’ll be in the best position to play a big role in their recovery. Soon enough, when they’re smiling again, your efforts will feel worth it. Like your child, you aren’t alone. If you need help, too, reach out and set a great example.