Does Your Teenager Struggle With Depression? What You Can Do To Help
If you have a teenage child that struggles with chronic depression, you may find yourself wondering what you can and should do to provide them with the support and care they need. Teens with depression often struggle in school, have difficulty engaging socially, and may even struggle to get out of bed no matter how long they have slept. While you cannot cure your teen's depression yourself, there are ways that you can help them to better deal with and manage this condition. Get to know some of these steps you can take so you can start helping your child as soon as possible.
Do Not Judge or Invalidate Their Emotions
When your teenager is suffering from depression, the worst thing you can do to them is to offer up any kind of judgement or invalidation of what they are feeling. It is natural when people seem to be unreasonably down to remind them of all that is good in their life and what they have to be thankful for. However, this will do more harm than good when a person is suffering from clinical depression.
Clinical depression is a chemical imbalance that causes these shifts in emotions and extended periods of sadness, lethargy, and hopelessness. Telling your teen that they should be happy because of all the good things in their life may seem encouraging to you, but to your teen it could just feel like their feelings are invalid and therefore bad. This, in turn, can make depression more profound.
Try to be as judgement-free as possible when your teen is depressed. Acknowledge their feelings. Offer sympathy and empathy for what they are going through. And make sure they know that their feelings are validated.
Find a Treatment Program that is Right for Them
The troubled youth treatments that will be the most effective for your teen will depend on the severity of your teen's depression as well as their willingness to pursue treatment. For a teen with moderate depression, weekly therapy sessions with a mental health counselor along with medications can be highly beneficial.
But, if your teen has severe depression and/or has had any suicide attempts, they might benefit from more intensive treatment for troubled teens. Residential mental health treatment options (inpatient treatment) can help in these situations. These facilities offer a variety of therapies, on-site medical professionals, and can protect your teen, keeping them from harming themselves.
Another option is a therapeutic boarding school. Therapeutic boarding schools combine the benefits of intensive therapy with an academic environment. This will allow your teen to keep up with their education as well as get the full-time help and support they need to manage their depression. These therapeutic boarding schools can be a short-term treatment option for until your child gets stable, or could be a great environment to help them complete high school in a safe and supportive school environment.
Knowing these steps that you can take to help your teen with their depression, you can get started right away.