DOES YOUR TEEN USUALLY COME HOME SHORT-TEMPERED AND RETREAT STRAIGHT TO THEIR ROOM WITHOUT EXPLANATION? THESE SUBTLE SHIFTS MAY SIGNAL AN INTERNAL STRUGGLE THAT NEEDS ATTENTION.
Depression and feelings of low mood can impact anyone, often sneaking into our lives unexpectedly. We’ve all experienced those moments of feeling low, hoping they’ll pass, and usually they do. But sometimes they linger. When these emotions persist, clouding your every move, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems unreachable, seeking help becomes crucial.
The Stigma Surrounding Depression
Unfortunately, there is still a significant stigma surrounding the word “depression.” Many people, especially males, believe that admitting to feeling depressed or needing help is a sign of weakness. However, in reality, it’s quite the opposite. It takes immense courage to recognise that you need some additional support – make that phone call, or walk into a reception for that first therapy appointment. At Creating Change, our experience has shown that those who take that brave step forward never look back, and that’s one of the most remarkable aspects of our work.
The Rising Prevalence of Teen Depression
In recent years, there has been a concerning increase in teenage depression. The reasons behind this surge are complex, but there are several factors contributing to this disturbing trend.
- Social Media and Online Pressure: The rise of social media has created a digital world where teenagers are constantly bombarded with curated images of “perfect” lives. This comparison can lead to feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and low self-esteem.
- Academic Stress: The pressure to excel academically is higher than ever. Teens face intense competition and high expectations, which can be overwhelming and lead to anxiety and depression.
- Bullying and Cyberbullying: Bullying has evolved from school hallways to the digital realm. Cyberbullying can be relentless and cause severe emotional distress for teenagers.
- Isolation and Lack of Physical Activity: With the advent of technology, many teenagers are spending more time indoors and less time engaging in physical activities and socialising with peers. This isolation can exacerbate feelings of depression.
How Can I Help My Teenager?
- Seek Professional Help: The first step is to acknowledge that you may be struggling with depression or feelings of low mood. Reach out to a mental health professional or a trusted adult. There’s no shame in seeking help; it’s a courageous act.
- Talk About It: Open and honest communication is key. Encourage teenagers to share their feelings with friends or family. Sometimes just talking about what’s bothering them can provide relief.
- Limit Social Media: Encourage responsible use of social media. Teach teenagers to be critical of what they see online and not to measure their worth based on other people’s posts.
- Promote Healthy Lifestyles: Encourage physical activity, a balanced diet and adequate sleep. These factors play a significant role in maintaining good mental health for teens.
- Build a Support Network: Help teenagers build a strong support system of friends, family, and mentors who can provide emotional support and guidance ongoing.
Teen depression is a growing concern, and it’s essential that we address it openly and with empathy. The stigma surrounding depression is unfounded, and seeking help is a sign of strength. By acknowledging the factors contributing to this increase in teen depression and taking proactive steps to address them, we can help our young people navigate these challenging times and move towards a path of confidence, better coping, and increased resilience. Don’t wait until it’s too much to bear. Support and help are available, and we are here to guide you through the process of creating positive change and feeling stronger.
Written by Rebecca Deane– Clinical Psychologist – creatingchange.net.au