How you can support your teenager and if counselling could help.
If you are wondering what you can do to help your teenager here are a few things you can do to help when they are struggling.
When you are worried about your teenager there are things you can do to support them. Wether it's depression, anxiety, hormonal issues, school work or friendship issues the signs of withdrawal or emotional outbursts begin to indicate there is something wrong.
Recognise that depression and worry is not a choice.
Just like a cold or flu, a person cannot simply choose to “get over” it, and it can affect anyone of any age. A person can develop depression even if they appear to have a good life, with little to be upset about. Remember this is about 'their' frame of reference not yours. Just because you can't see 'why' it doesn't mean its not real.
Make the effort.
Teens will often isolate themselves leading to falling out of touch with friends and family. You can’t make someone accept help, but you can provide options. Check in regularly, invite them to talk, show your support by thinking of them. It is really difficult when sometimes you are the target of emotional outbursts but remember to try and not take it to heart.
Listening can help.
You don’t have to fix their problems or convince them that their negative feelings are wrong. If you disagree with some of their thoughts or feelings, respect and acknowledge that these experiences are real to them. Be aware of your body language and facial expressions and these are very powerful forms of communication that create strong emotional triggers for your children. I'm sure if you asked a teenager to show you what faces you pull when you are happy, sad or angry they will be pretty accurate!
Support healthy habits.
Exercise, healthy sleep habits, and socialising all contribute to mental health, and help combat depression. Support these activities by giving encouragement, offering to accompany your loved one, or providing positive feedback. Think of their needs as a jar that constantly needs to be topped up with positive stuff.
Encourage professional help.
Mental health counselling and medication are effective in treating depression. If your loved one is unsure where to start begin by looking at self help guides on the internet. Offer to help them find further help, such as a GP or a mental health counsellor. A counsellor will offer a secure and confidential space that encourages trust and acceptance leading to a therapeutic relationship that is open and honest.
Make time for self-care.
Supporting someone with depression can be frustrating, tiring, and emotionally draining. It’s okay to take a break just for you. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep, eating properly, exercising, and taking time to relax because yes it is sometimes overwhelming supporting and worrying about a loved one. If your not fully charged you will have nothing left to give. Remember that jar that they need constantly topped up with positivity? You have one too!