Podcast 41: 4 Strategies to Use to Help your Teen Struggling with Depression to Develop Skills

Teen with Increasing Severe Depression that need our help

Podcast (Audio Only)

4 Strategies you Can Use to Help your Teen struggling with Depression or Your Teens Friends to develop skills to deal with these imposing emotions.

In this episode Joanne Williams, LCSW discusses a new study showing that a scary number of our teens that are struggling and need our Help even when many of them don’t realize it.

Summary of Todays show: Our teens are getting more overwhelmed than we may be aware of. I will share 4 strategies for what you can do and to understand why this may be happening and how to help them.

  1. The Signs that our teens are struggle to cope
  2. The stressors with certain groups that are worse
  3. 3 factors that come together to create a sense of hopelessness and despair.
  4. How we can help- 4 key strategies you can use today that will help.
  5. How we can help by understanding yours and your child’s attachment style.

Please hear from a 30 year MH professional. We are having a MH crisis with our Children. 

I heard a statistic that scared me so much and it should scare you too. 

From the organization Mental health America that did an online study 1.5 million 11-17 students. The teens took a depression screening test starting in Sept. 2020, so this is recent data and 37 % of the 11-17 yo reported were having suicidal thoughts in the last 7 of 14 days when they took the survey. 37 %-50% of these teens, when you add for other groups with higher rates, were considering or had thoughts taking their life. Or examining or weighing options.  This doesn’t mean they will but, it is considered having ideations about it and the next question would be, do they have a plan to figure out how seriously they are thinking about his. 

But, we all need to take it as serious as a heart attack, this is part of a shadow pandemic that is affecting our kids directly.

This test is one of the 9 criteria I used to diagnosis depression with my clients.  We use a test called PHQ-9.  This is one of the 9 questions, on the depression screen test.  So this is a reliable and credible test. Done on line, with no adults watching or listening, may actually give us a better understanding of what our kids are thinking and feeling at this age.

Many times teens are not very communicative anyway,  with us as parents or if asked they may not even understand themselves.   or know that they are depressed or that they THAT unhappy.  If feels normal to them.  This is why they can do impulsive things and do harm to themselves. Number one cause of death in teens is accidents.  

Signs to look for in your kids are changes in their behaviors, not interested in doing things that they previously had interest in, physical signs in their bodes, the way they carry themselves, slumped shoulders, no energy, or more negative talk. Hopelessness is one of the biggest keys to suicide, nothing to live for. 

Some kid verbalize that they have thoughts to harm themselves, but some don’t, so don’t wait for that.

A parent told me yesterday, those were the exact signs she was seeing in her son.  They figured out,  that he was feeling he had no purpose because he didn’t have his team sport that he loved and lived for.  She immediately figured out where a similar team was playing and weighed the risks of Covid and decided his mental health was more important.  These are trying times for all of us.

There are so many compounding factors that I am sure you are aware of as a parent that you are dealing with that, we may not be able to help our children cope better, if you don’t how to cope yourself.   As we all know from personal experience, human relationships can deeply affect us, emotionally; they can either enrich or complicate our lives.

Not surprisingly, the roots of our anxiety may lie largely in our childhood: Our early childhood experiences shape our later relationships, romantic and otherwise.

We humans are very social creatures; other people are important to us.

You can learn skills of what to do. This is not something to worry about this is something to take action to get involved, ON.   You can ask for help at school, at church or from a counselor.

BUT, we have to get involved somehow, in what the teens like, get into THEIR world, what they want to do.  Because they are in the phase of development, everything is able them.  And everything is pronounced or exaggerated in their minds, I think because of hormone and this stage that stage is about finding their own identity and in high school finding their social identity and how they belong. You do remember how hard this was a teenager?  DON’T you?

Adolescents may offer useful lessons for adults:

So, kids are watching you and learning from the adults behaviors, so healthy relationship in the family can make a huge difference.

Even if they don’t want our help or think we are totally stupid and we don’t know anything, they still need us and are Listening to you and your advise, but, they may not show it.  Keep talking to them, they are listening and taking in everything.  But, you will never know it for years.

Even having some hope on the horizon with vaccines, there still have been over 550,000 death that are affecting our families. 

I see that 1 of these deaths from covid affects at least 10 other people, like being a coworkers, or as a friend or a friend of the family, or a spouse, or a spouse, grandparent or someone associated with the family, that they know and may need our help to assist the family out with this grief,  or to help the  family member, to get through the day, or through the day at work to keep everything together for the rest of the family’s sake financially.  If my calculations are true that is 5 million people affected, with losses, just this year from covid, more or less the other issues compounding this.

The report that I am sharing, is in a link for you to see, it is staggering, and we need to be shouting this from the roof tops.  But, unfortunately it is really hard to hear and for some it is just too much.

I will share these new statistics from Mental Health America that 10 % of youth in America have severe depression, where these thoughts of self-harm are found in 1 out of 10 of our children. Look around you. This may be your child’s friend. The highest rates are among youth who Identify as more than one race at 12 % and 60% DO NOT RECEIVE ANY MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT.

We as an American society have managed to classify a set of symptoms of feeling overwhelmed, tired, poor concentration, feeling like a failure into classification to feel ashamed of, instead of looking at it as we need to teach life skills on how to manage or cope with these feelings. 

Without ever being taught these coping or life skills and expected to know what to do with them??.  

And if we as the parent are avoiding seeing the signs of overwhelm in our kids, because we don’t know how to manage them ourselves. What are we to do?  There are things that you can do.  

We have 50-90,000 thoughts per day that can go towards our health and happiness or away from it into depression, or thinking we are a failure or worthless and things are hopeless.

To compound this issue is that children don’t’ even start to have the cognitive abilities… the thinking skills, to understand how to figure out how to deal with their emotions until they are age 12-25.  That part of their brain is still developing.  The thinking/ cognitive or higher brain skills of how to figure out how deal with feelings of failure, or self-worth are continuing to develop until they are 25 years old. 

Notice a male can’t rent a car until they are 25.  Why? They haven’t developed the emotional and cognitive skills to be trusted to rent a car and be responsible for it.  They need our help.

Suicide in teens is the second leading cause of death only to accidents, in the US.

Guns in the home increase the possibility of both violence and suicide. According to the Everytownresearch.com

There are 3 factors that come together to create a sense of hopelessness and despair.

The 3 risk factors are:

1.Current life stressors, prolonged stress, (financial, emotionally stress like bullying, harassment) their attitude towards it and the support they receive are part of what will save them or not.  

2 Historical risks, previous suicide attempts, family history of depression or suicides, childhood abuse, neglect or traumas of any kind, family losses, physical head trauma)

3.Lethal means of harm at their disposal including firearms.

They are learning how to cope from you the parent or their peers. Which do you want them to learn from ?  If you as a parent and don’t understand how to manage your emotions, then, buy a book, listen to free podcasts, like mine at Anxiety Simplified on all major platforms, pay a professional counselor and learn the skills.  They can be learned like any other skill.

I truly believe that this is a bigger issue with teens, I think it is finding meaning of life and its purpose and connecting to it.  I think that we don’t often give it the time it deserves as a philosophic way to look at life until college years.  But, I see the real message is a deeper need to connect with something bigger than them, something with more depth than social media, social comparisons. 

Here are 4 things you can do:

1.  Connect with Nature with your kid, have them join a team, connect with a church or social group that is active

2.  Teens are in a development time of separation from their parents and trying to find themselves and their purpose and meaning. The more experience they have in different areas, the quicker they know what they don’t like, to know what they do like.  Let them safely experiment and if you can be the chaperone and just witness them from afar, you will begin to see you kids strengths to encourage them to move in that direction.

3. Get a dog, or an animal in the home and can bring purpose and meaning and responsibility to something other than themselves. Or go to https://esapros.com for an emotional support animal or a Psychiatric Service Dog to go with you everywhere to give you the support you need.

4.  Volunteer

Make this and your children a priority.  They will be gone before you know what happened.  These are very important times. Figure out how to be their support system, even if they say they don’t want you too.  Do something with them they like to do, even if you don’t.  Just like in any relationship there is give and take and right now it is give give give with a teens.

We are left to figure it out ourselves and pay for it ourselves.  I do feel like it is one of the best investments in yourself and your family that you can ever make.  Get the life skills to understand how to manage your emotions and your kids will follow your example.

You can download this report here: Download The Report

The article referenced: The State of Mental Health in America

 This is podcast is by no means a replacement for therapy of any medical attention if you need it.  Always reach out and take care of yourself or if you are feeling like you want to hurt yourself, there is always someone standing by at 1800-273-8255 or call 911.

Remember to practice the skills we shared today to feel more joys in your life.

You can contact us at anxietysimplified.net or find out more how to get an Emotional Support animal for housing or a Certified Psychiatric Service dog to go anywhere with to feel the calm. Bye for now. Remember to Share the Love.

Our next podcast: Social Anxiety

See other podcasts at AnxietySimplified.net