As your children get older, it’s sometimes getting difficult to know how to help them when they are struggling. When they were younger, they turned to you for everything, but as they get older, their problems often become more complicated. The important thing to remember if you think your teenager might be dealing with depression is that you can still offer a supporting role, and there are steps you can take to ensure they get the help they need.
Signs your teen is depressed
If you notice any sudden changes in your child’s behaviors or attitudes, it could be time to look a little more closely. According to the Mayo Clinic, You should pay careful attention to them and look for signs such as:
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
Others might include seeing them harming themselves, skipping school or letting their grades slip, isolating themselves from friends and family, or neglecting their appearance.
When to seek help
Some mild depression and mood swings are normal through the teenage years. Hormones change and mildly upsetting events can seem much to handle by your child. However, there are some serious signs that need immediate attention. If your teen is hurting themselves by cutting or engaging in some other harmful behavior, it is a serious situation that must be addressed. Likewise, if your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, you should get them immediate help. And the most imminent danger poses itself in the form of suicide threats or attempts. In this case, it’s crucial that you call 911 and get the emergency help your teen needs. It will also be important that you get them continuing help as soon as possible. There are good teenage depression rehab centers available that can treat your child longer term and get to the root of their problems.
How to talk to your teen about depression
If you notice some of these signs in your child, it’s important to approach the situation carefully. To start the conversation, you’ll first need to pick an appropriate time. In other words, bring up the conversation casually at a time when you would naturally be talking, like while sitting and watching a television show or driving home from school. Try to be as non-judgmental as possible in your tone and your words. But do let them know that you have noticed some of these signs and offer your support.
Where to go from here
Once your teen has been treated and you have come up with a good plan for continuing therapy or the tools to deal with his or her emotions, your child will need a new goal to focus on. If your child is older and has graduated from high school or is close to it, help them come up with a plan for their future. Therapists and school counselors are both excellent sources for helping people figure out what they’re good at and what they’d like to pursue. They can choose from some excellent college programs like nursing or other trades. After getting professional help themselves, they might become interested in helping other individuals. In such cases, they might be interested in looking into programs like the allied health programs in Jersey City, NJ.
The important thing is to give your teen a purpose and something to look forward to. You can always be there to support your children, no matter how old they get, but getting them help early on can change the course of their lives forever.