Depression is fairly common among teenagers, as they figure themselves out, approach adulthood, and face a variety of pressures. Although it can be a real challenge, here are some ways you can help your teen through the struggle.
1. Recognize the signs
Depression is different from the occasional mood swings that teenagers inevitably experience. Know the symptoms and signs of depression. If your teenager is acting out in harmful ways, is extremely withdrawn, or has regular frequent episodes of hostility or sadness, consider seeking help for them. Be aware there is often an underlying issue, and you may want to talk to your teen first. Remember, even if your child struggles with depression, there is hope for them and it is treatable.
2. Be there for them
Your teenager may not always want to talk, but make it clear that you are there for them. They need your support. There are several ways to connect with them during this time. Set aside time to talk with them every day, ask open-ended questions, or just spend time together. Don’t try to force communication, minimize their struggles, or close off to them. You can also talk with their doctor and get them help. Consider counseling or therapy for them if their symptoms seem serious enough. If they express suicidal thoughts, get them the help they need immediately!
3. Help them at home
Even if your teen is receiving therapy or counseling, you should make every effort to help them in other ways. Start by fostering a place of security and safety for them in your home. Help them in practical ways by promoting a healthy diet, limiting screen time, and encouraging good sleep habits and a healthy social life. Above all, just be supportive of them. They need the stability of knowing you are there for them.
Hang in there! It can be exhausting and discouraging to help your teenager through a difficult season, but just remember there is hope and you can be their biggest support.