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Teen Depression

Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 13, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Depression

Understanding Teen Dating Violence

Help Your Teens UnsplashTeenDating-300x220 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Adolescence is a pivotal time in a child’s development. They begin to make decisions, develop relationships, and take on more responsibility in their lives. The lessons and habits they learn will stick with them throughout adulthood. Teens are impressionable.

The relationships they have when they’re young, both personal and romantic, can have lasting effects.  Teen dating violence is a serious issue. Not only does it harm the teen, but it also has lasting consequences that can follow them throughout adulthood. 

Teen dating violence (TVD) is the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse experienced as a teen in a dating relationship. Although abuse is more common in middle-aged women, millions of teens every year experience some form of teen dating violence. TVD can take many forms and can happen both in-person and digitally. Teens who experience dating violence are more likely to be victims of domestic violence in adulthood. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s important to share information on these topics to help those that are victims and prevent any further abuse. 

Red Flags & Warning Signs 

Emotional Abuse 

Emotional abuse is when an abuser will bully, falsely accuse, isolate, or gaslight a victim to assert dominance and psychologically control their victim. Emotional abuse is one of the most common tactics used by abusers, and one of the first signs of teen dating violence in a relationship. Some warning signs of emotional abuse include: 

  • False accusations of cheating
  • Isolation from friends and family 
  • Belittlement, mockery, or consistent criticism  
  • Undermined emotions, opinions, and feelings  
  • Public humiliation or intentional embarrassment 
  • Held responsible for all the partner’s mistakes 
  • Manipulation through threat or blackmail 
  • Sporadic or unnecessary arguments 
  • Personal attacks and swearing towards partner 

Although emotional abuse is the most common form of teen dating violence, it can be the hardest to detect. Abusers will act friendly around friends and family, then flip a switch when they’re alone with the victim. Many victims don’t notice the signs of emotional abuse. They tell themselves that it isn’t that bad or blame themselves for the abuser’s actions. Emotional abuse can cause a victim to have low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and increased levels of guilt and shame. 

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is when money is used as a weapon to control a victim. Stealing a partner’s money, controlling how a partner spends their own money, or preventing a partner from academic success or getting a job are just some forms of teen financial abuse. Some common red flags of financial abuse include: 

  • Having to ask partner for permission to use their own money 
  • Being forced to pay for all the dates 
  • Having to give the other partner access to their money and accounts
  • Financially supporting a partner with nothing in return
  • Being prevented from attending school 
  • Not being allowed to partake in higher education and employment opportunities

Financial abuse can have detrimental long-term consequences such as dropping out of school, giving up academic and job opportunities, being financially reliant on the partner, and having little to no money to their own name. The effects of financial abuse are amplified when a teen has a debit or credit card.

Abusers can gain access to their accounts and rack up debt in their name. This can cause teens to enter adulthood with severe debt and a low credit score. Although it may not seem important to a teen now, financial abuse can make reaching milestones like attending college or making big purchases much more challenging. Things like buying a home have certain credit score requirements, that financial abuse survivors may not be able to meet. 

Physical Violence

Physical violence is the intentional hurting of a partner’s physical body. Bitting, hitting, kicking, choking, throwing, and beating are common forms of physical abuse. Many abusers will create excuses for physical violence, blame the victim, or will make the abuse seem like an accident.

This form of abuse is the easiest to identify since it often leaves victims with bruises and scars. However, many victims will cover up any signs or markings by wearing long clothing or applying makeup to their wounds. If you notice your child wearing long sleeves and pants on a hot day, it can be an indicator of physical violence. Some other red flags for physical violence are:

  • Bruises on the body 
  • Black eye or swelling around the eye and face
  • Broken glasses or personal items
  • Busted lips 
  • Sprained wrists 
  • Unexplained wounds or injuries 
  • Wearing scarves or sunglasses during unorthodox times 
  • Extra alertness or waiting for something bad to happen 
  • Flinching or putting hands up in defense at sudden movement or being touched 

Physical violence is regarded as the most dangerous TVD. Victims of physical abuse often experience PTSD, increased anxiety, trust issues, and addiction. Abusers will start controlling their victims using psychological tactics and then move into physical violence. Identifying other forms of abuse in a relationship can help prevent your teen from experiencing physical violence. However, if you notice signs of physical abuse it’s imperative that you get them the help they need before the violence escalates. 

Sexual Violence

Help Your Teens BigStockGirlOnCell-300x202 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Sexual violence, also known as sexual assault, is when a victim is pressured physically or emotionally to engage in sexual activity. Sexual assault is not limited to intercourse. It can be any unconsented sexual touching, sexting, or sending explicit pictures of a partner to others.

Sexual violence is another way abusers control and manipulate their victims for their gain. This form of abuse is the hardest for teens to talk about. However, some warning signs to look out for include: 

  • Signs of physical abuse (bruises, wounds, scars) 
  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts 
  • Abnormal changes to self-care (clothing, hygiene, appearance) 
  • Self-harm or substance abuse 
  • Panic attacks 
  • STDs or sexually transmitted infection 
  • Pregnancy or pregnancy scare 

If you notice these signs, have an open conversation with your teen. Create a safe space for them to speak their truth. Sexual violence can lead to unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection/disease that, if not treated early on, can end severe health risks. Sexual violence also has long-term effects on a victim’s mental health. It can cause a victim to develop an eating disorder to reclaim a sense of control, PTSD,  numbness, and fear of sexual interaction or intimacy. 

Stalking 

Stalking is the repeated unwanted contact and attention from a partner. Some forms of stalking include an abuser showing up at the victim’s house unexpectedly, physically following a victim, sending unwanted texts and phone calls to the victim, tracking the victim through social media, and hiring or making other people follow you. Stalking is a tactic used to make the victim fearful and is often used when the victim leaves the relationship. It may not seem as dangerous but if not addressed early, can continue long after teenage years.

Some red flags of stalking include: 

  • Rumors being spread about the victim 
  • Unwanted phone calls to anyone with a connection to the victim (friends, family, employers) 
  • Abuser showing up to victim’s place of employment
  • Abuser waiting for the victim or following them 
  • Abuser monitoring or tracking victim’s location and internet use 
  • Threats to victim’s new partner 
  • Unexplainable damage is done to home, car, or personal belongings

If you suspect that your teen is being stalked it may be wise to take legal action against the abuser. Consider getting a restraining order to put a stop to this manipulation. Stalking may not seem like much, but it can implicate a child’s life, and if it persists, can lead to rather dangerous or life-threatening situations. 

What Parents Can Do 

Help Your Teens PexelSadTeen2-300x204 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Knowing the signs of teen dating violence and educating your teen on the signs can help prevent your child from becoming a victim. If you suspect your child is experiencing teen dating violence, initiate conversation. During the conversation listen to your teen, taking note of what they need most. Be a source of comfort and guidance, but most importantly, encourage and help your teen take action. Teen dating violence is a serious issue. By talking about these red flags and warning signs, and by taking the necessary actions against abusers, we can help put a stop to teen dating violence. 

Guest contributor.

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How to Help Teens Cope with Stress and Uncertainies in Life

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 16, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Depression, Teen Help

How to Guide Your Teen Through Uncertainties About the Future

Help Your Teens PexelSadTeen-300x199 How to Help Teens Cope with Stress and Uncertainies in Life Teenagers today are subject to a lot of pressure as they plan for their future in these uncertain times. Saving up for college, part-time work, and the pressure to achieve can be emotionally taxing for your high schooler.

As a parent, you can guide your teen through these challenges and put their minds at ease as they prepare for adulthood. 

The Impact of Stress on Teens

In a 2018 survey, the American Psychological Association reported that teenagers experience more anxiety and depression than adults. The pandemic has made this situation much worse. Isolation caused by school closures, worry about getting sick, and related issues have put adolescents at greater risk for mental health issues.

How can you help your teenage child with anxiety? The first step is discovering if your child has a problem. Teens may not answer questions about their mental health adequately. Look for telltale signs of stress and depression such as:

  • Physical symptoms including headaches, stomach aches, or exhaustion
  • Loss of interest in activities or loss of appetite
  • Irregular sleep habits
  • Difficulty focusing or making decisions
  • Withdrawal, seclusion, or apathy

Teach Your Child to Manage Stress

Help Your Teens BigstockFatherSon-300x200 How to Help Teens Cope with Stress and Uncertainies in Life If your child seems to be struggling with these issues, you can employ several strategies to help them manage their stress. One of the most important is to create a peaceful environment in your home. Even the most functional families can overreact in stressful times. However, you can choose to react calmly when in times of crisis.

When you feel the urge to lose your temper because of your teen’s behavior or actions, take a step back and breathe for a few moments before engaging them. Show how to handle a difficult situation instead of telling them to calm down when they are angry.

Another key is to communicate openly and frequently with your child. Invite them to offer their opinions, input, and ideas on everything from planning family traditions to current events. Be honest with them about your feelings as well. And when you see them accomplish their goals or share their experiences, take the time to acknowledge and encourage their efforts.

Another way to reduce their stress is to help your teens take ownership of their health. Exercise, proper sleep, and nutritious food choices can reduce anxiety. When these habits improve how they feel, they will make them part of their routine. 

The next step is to help them plan for their future to reduce the pressure they experience today.

Planning for a Career Path

The goal of high school is to guide your child onto a career path, which can lead to a great deal of tension. They may suffer performance anxiety in academics or athletics, worry about college admission or tuition expenses, and stress over a high school career that will help them achieve their goals.

Choosing a career path can be confusing. Sit down with your teen to explore different options. Review their strengths and interests but keep in mind that these alone will not always help them find the best options.

If they are concerned about employment opportunities in the future, have them look at jobs or industries that are in need or are growing. For example, there is a shortage of medical doctors and other health providers in the U.S. This shortage is expected to increase over the next 20 years as older physicians retire. Pursuing a degree in medicine, nursing, or other healthcare disciplines will be valuable in times to come.

Finally, remember to tell your teen that they need not stress too much over future career paths. Their early college years have basic electives and introductory courses in their chosen profession, allowing them to get a taste of their potential career. There is enough time to change their path before advancing too far. 

Connect your teens with professionals in the field to get an idea of what the job entails. They should also talk to successful professionals who changed their major in college. 

Teens are not just worried about their careers. Financial security in today’s economy is another anxiety-inducing concern.

Planning for Financial Security

Your child may be worried about their financial future. Tuition costs are one concern. They may even be aware that many millennials struggle to buy a home thanks to outstanding college debt. Another worry they have is figuring out how to build good credit for a future mortgage.

Even if buying a home is far off for your teens, they may be considering other expenses, like traveling to Europe or buying a car. 

Help your teen reduce stress about the future by teaching them the basics of financial security. You can cover budgeting, saving, and investing topics in a more practical way than a school course. Teach your teens savvy financial habits such as these:

  • Put money aside every week once they have a job or from their allowance.
  • Have them set a small goal for some of their savings, such as a new phone.
  • Get them to track their spending to achieve this goal. Teach them to set up an income and expenditures spreadsheet.
  • If your child is very responsible, you can add them to your credit card as an authorized user to help them establish a credit history and score.

Teens have a lot of pressure on them to succeed today. You can model and teach good habits to manage that stress. In addition, helping them for a career and financial security will ensure a successful future.

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Rates of Teen Suicide and Suicidal Ideation Surge –Tied to Pandemic

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 11, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Depression, Teen Help, Teen Suicide Prevention

Parents, teens and mental health: Suicide ideation rates nearly double since the pandemic

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sep 10, 2021–

Help Your Teens PexelsSadGirl-211x300 Rates of Teen Suicide and Suicidal Ideation Surge –Tied to Pandemic Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens are of growing concern with rates of suicidal ideation and attempts nearly twice as high compared to pre- pandemic times.

ComPsych, the world’s largest provider of integrated behavioral health and well-being services, has seen a double-digit increase in calls related to anxiety and depression worries with their teens and a 35% spike in corporate requests for employee suicide awareness and prevention training.

“The teen mental health crisis is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and as the pandemic continues, we can see the confluence of crisis exacerbate anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide,” said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “Resources are key in helping support people and preventing tragedy.”

A recent ComPsych Tell it Now ℠ poll reveals 49% of parents are concerned about the pressure, stress and anxiety their child is experiencing and don’t know how to help. Throughout September, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, ComPsych will host interactive customer trainings and share digital suicide prevention toolkits and resources to amplify the conversation, break stigma and highlight warning signs and ways to help those who may be suffering.

Experts agree increased mental health challenges influenced by disruptions in daily life, social isolation and changes in peer interactions have had a significant impact on adolescents and young adults. According to the CDC, even before the pandemic began, the youth suicide rate in the United States was the highest in recorded history. While progress has been made in raising awareness around mental health and suicide prevention in the past few years, unfortunately, suicide is still heavily stigmatized.

“Suicide prevention does not start in the emergency room, it starts at home, and at work,” said Chaifetz. “Employers play an increasingly important role in supporting the mental health and well-being of their employees – and destigmatizing mental health is critical to addressing challenges and reversing the trend,” said Chaifetz.

Warning Signs

  • Behaving in a depressed manner
  • Having a peer who has committed suicide
  • Threatening or talking about killing oneself or others
  • Expressing no hope for the future
  • Being bullied by an individual or group of peers
  • Talking or behaving like no one cares or that life is hopeless
  • Making final preparations, such as giving away possessions, saying goodbyes
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Neglecting school performance
  • Being preoccupied with songs, movies or video games with violent or suicidal content

How to Help

Be sure to take action immediately if you suspect someone is suicidal. If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

About ComPsych
ComPsych® Corporation is the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs (EAP) and is the pioneer and worldwide leader of fully integrated EAP, behavioral health, wellness, work-life, HR, FMLA and absence management services under its GuidanceResources® brand. ComPsych provides services to more than 56,000 organizations covering more than 127 million individuals throughout the U.S. and 190 countries. By creating “Build-to-Suit” programs, ComPsych helps employers attract and retain employees, increase employee productivity and improve overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.compsych.com and follow us @ComPsych on Twitter.
View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210910005289/en/
CONTACT: Jamie Stein
ComPsych Corporation
312-451-7160
jstein@compsych.com
KEYWORD: ILLINOIS UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: MEN HEALTH ENTERTAINMENT FAMILY HUMAN RESOURCES CONSUMER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES MENTAL HEALTH TEENS PARENTING CHILDREN GENERAL HEALTH OTHER ENTERTAINMENT WOMEN
SOURCE: ComPsych
Copyright Business Wire 2021.
PUB: 09/10/2021 08:35 AM/DISC: 09/10/2021 08:36 AM
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210910005289/en

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The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 10, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Teen Depression, Troubled Teens

Teen Depression, Anxiety and Stress

Help Your Teens PexelsTeenAnxiety-202x300 The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated The mental health crisis with young people is extremely concerning. With almost a year of remote learning, students have become more withdrawn, isolated and dependent upon their electronics.

We have seen a rise in youth depression, stress and anxiety which is causing parents to experience behaviors such as defiance, self-harm, eating disorders, hyenine issues and possibly suicide ideation.

Is your teen struggling emotionally?

Considered our featured teen book:

The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated

By Katie Hurley, LCSW

Don’t face depression alone―advanced tools for teens.

You can feel better and The Depression Workbook for Teens is going to help you do it. Drawing on the most effective and up-to-date techniques―including cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness―this depression workbook is filled with helpful exercises designed specifically for teens that will help you conquer depression. Develop the skills you need to manage your emotional well-being and bring happiness back into your life.

Get information all about depression―its symptoms, causes, and risk factors―so you can identify the differences between normal stress and depression. There is a light at the end of the tunnel―The Depression Workbook for Teens will show you the way.

Help Your Teens DepressionWorkbook The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated The Depression Workbook for Teens includes:

  • Just for teens―Tackle your depression head-on using a depression workbook filled with strategies written with your unique needs (and time constraints) in mind.
  • Useful tools―With quizzes, journaling prompts, conversation starters, and more, you’ll discover simple skill-building exercises to improve your mood and build your self-esteem.
  • Practical problem solving―Find ways to work through the challenges you’re facing―including fighting with your parents, getting up in the morning, struggling with homework, and more.

The Depression Workbook for Teens gives you the helping hand you need to get through this difficult time.

************************

About Katie Hurley: Katie is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert, and writer. Hurley is the author of No More Mean Girls and The Happy Kid Handbook. Her work can be found in The Washington Post, PBS Parents, US News and World Report, and Psychology Today.

During this time of uncertainty, The Depression Workbook has been a tremendous asset to many young people. Studies are revealing the impact COVID is having on mental health with our young people.

Have you exhausted your local resources?

Therapy isn’t working? Contact us to learn more about residential therapy for your teenager.

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Help Your Teen Beat School Stress: 8 Proven Strategies

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 01, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Help

School: New stressors

Help Your Teens PexelTeenStress-196x300 Help Your Teen Beat School Stress: 8 Proven Strategies Our teens will experience stress many times in their lives. Short-term stressful situations are part of the normal course of life: they are natural and generally useful. But there is also stress that paralyzes the child, pressures him, and does not allow them to live and develop.

  • Excessive demands when the program does not correspond to the child’s abilities. 
  • Stressful tactics of pedagogical influence. The too-fast pace of work, hurtful nicknames and mockery; reprimanding a child in front of the whole class can become a childhood trauma. 
  • Inadequate pedagogical methods. 
  • Problems with the organization of the learning process. If a child has to reread what they were taught in class, if they don’t understand how to do the homework – then the lessons at school are ineffective.  
  • Conflicts. Unfortunately, some conflicts last not for a couple of days, but much longer. They become chronic and turn into the factors of toxic anxiety.
  • Lack of psychological support in school. Teachers and parents may lack sensitivity to notice that the child does not cope with stress. There always must be a school psychologist.

A few words about emotional abuse

It is a special stress factor that a child can face at home, at school, and even on the street. That is not only threats and insults, not only fear of punishment but everything that destroys the friendly environment around the child. That is adults’ shifted eyebrows or their tense silence.

The quiet threatening prophecy: “You’ll never be able to write the best essays”. The indifferent tone, the frightening facial expression: “I look at him, he immediately begins to obey, and he starts to be afraid of me”.

Emotional violence cannot strengthen the child or make him stronger. It deprives him or her of a feeling of safety and the possibility of making a mistake without serious consequences. More often than not, adults do hurt children emotionally because they are simply tired and on the verge of emotional burnout.

A teacher is a profession with a high risk of burnout, so parents should take a closer look at the teacher’s well-being if the child clearly “brings” traces of severe stress from school. Being in a stressful situation for most of the week poses a threat to the mental and physical health of the child.

If you notice that the teacher treats children aloof, indifferent, and cold – try not to stir up conflict, but protect the child. If it is not possible to establish contact with the teacher and soften the pressure, for the sake of the child it is better to change the school. 

Develop the stress-resistance of the students:

It is worth remembering: the brain does best what it does most often. It is in our power to train a child’s brain for success, for an even alternation of tension and rest, a calm attitude toward difficulties and a keen search for solutions. 

Here are tips from an adolescent psychologist

  • Maintain, support, cultivate a favourable, calm, friendly atmosphere in the family. In difficult situations there is no need to panic, you should remember that “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”
  • Try to communicate regularly, talk to the child about topics related to his or her experiences, feelings and emotions. Be sure to discuss the near and distant future. Try to build (but not impose) prospects together. Share your experiences, thoughts, suggest how to write a paper in an hour if needed. Sympathize, tell him that you understand how difficult it is for him now. Children who feel support and sincere sympathy from parents cope with stress more successfully.
  • Teach the child to express emotions in socially acceptable forms (aggression – through active sports, physical activity that can be done at home or outdoors; emotional distress – through a trusting conversation with relatives that brings relief). It is often difficult for a child (especially a teenager) to talk about experiences. Suggest that the child have a notebook. By putting their emotions on paper, they will feel relieved to be free of possible negative thoughts.
  • Encourage the child to be physically active. Stress is, first of all, a physical reaction of the body. Any activity which requires physical effort will help the child to struggle effectively with it. It can be house cleaning, physical exercises, singing, dancing etc. Try not to force the child to spend energy on something that is not interesting. Determine together what kind of active activity they would like to do while at home.
  • Support and encourage your child’s creative handiwork  (drawing, weaving “braids”, working for cheap writing services, glueing models). Even if it seems to you that the teenager does nothing useful. All this is a kind of “discharge”. Through the work, the teenager gets distracted from negative experiences and everyday problems.
  • Encourage the child to take care of neighbours (elderly people, younger children, pets). Pleasant duties, feeling that someone depends on them is an additional resource for coping with possible stress.
  • Maintain family traditions and rituals. It is important that a good family tradition is interesting, useful and loved by all generations of the family. So that the youth enjoy participating in them and do not perceive them as an unavoidable, boring, useless pastime.
  • Try to support the child’s daily routine (sleep, eating habits). Give the child more often the opportunity to get joy, satisfaction from everyday pleasures (a tasty meal, taking a relaxing bath, talking to friends on the phone, etc.).

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Mental Health and Teen Pregnancy

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 18, 2021  /   Posted in Mental Health, Teen Depression, Teen Help

How Teen Pregnancy Can Affect Mental Health

Help Your Teens UnSplashTeenPreg-300x202 Mental Health and Teen Pregnancy Life as a teenager in modern America is, to put it mildly, a difficult endeavor. Not only do teens struggle with a torrent of hormones that are simultaneously changing them physically while changing the way they think about and view the world.

Most teens had a year of in-person schooling taken away from them due to the pandemic, meaning they missed out on important social interactions that previous generations benefitted from.

The situation alone is enough to affect a teen’s mental health; however, for teens who are pregnant, it is just that much harder as they have more on their plates than most will have in their lifetimes at such a young age.

How Pregnancy Can Affect Mental Health

Both boys and girls will experience serious physical changes to their bodies during puberty. While many young people are excited by the prospect of “growing up”, others may find it upsetting as they are dealing with a rush of hormones that they are not yet used to. Teens feel their emotions much more strongly than they did when they were younger, both those of elation and sadness.

As soon as a teen begins ovulating, their body is prepared to become pregnant whether that teen is emotionally prepared to make the life-changing decision or not. About 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant annually in the United States, many of whom are not ready to take on the emotional, physical, and financial responsibility that comes with motherhood at that age. For teenage girls, even the act of telling their parents that they are pregnant can be a serious stressor on their mental health.

While more research needs to be conducted, a correlation between teen girls who are diagnosed with mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder and the increased likelihood that they will give birth versus their counterparts without diagnosed mental illnesses has been found. The stresses caused by pregnancy while a teen is still developing can compound mental health issues, increasing the likelihood that they will suffer from depression, anxiety, or increased intensity of a previously diagnosed mental illness.

Struggling Postpartum

The effects of teen pregnancy on mental health do not begin and end during the pregnancy itself. Teen mothers are much more prone to depression than older mothers and non-pregnant teens at a rate of 16-44%. There are a few different factors that play into this, from inadequate social support to poverty and lower education levels.

It doesn’t help their mental health that teen mothers should avoid taking antidepressants during their pregnancy as they can cause several birth defects like spina bifida, cleft lip, and heart defects. Even after pregnancy, teen mothers should take caution when looking into starting a prescription for antidepressants as there is a link between antidepressant use and an increase in suicidal ideology in teens

Despite the risks, antidepressants can be an effective method to treat depression in teen mothers. Teen moms are a uniquely vulnerable population, and due to the social stigma of teen pregnancy, the conversation around their mental health isn’t as widespread as it ought to be. The best approach is a holistic one, combining the services provided by clinicians, schools, primary care providers, and obstetricians to develop an appropriate plan for each mother. 

How to Get Help

If you have a child or loved one experiencing teen pregnancy or you are a pregnant teen, there are ways to help prevent the negative mental health effects that pregnancy can bring about for teens. First and foremost, find a qualified family nurse practitioner who you can trust to help you develop a plan of action in dealing with depression and other mental health issues. Having a skilled medical professional explain everything clearly can be enough to relieve a huge amount of stress and pressure.

Help Your Teens PexelSadTeen2-300x204 Mental Health and Teen Pregnancy Learn to recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression along with signs of depression during pregnancy. A sense of detachment and disconnection, unfounded feelings of guilt, loss of interest in hobbies once held dear, and extended periods of sadness can all be signs of depression or postpartum depression. In severe cases, postpartum depression can result in thoughts of self-harm or harming the infant, so it is important to be able to catch things before they become worse.

Finally, be open to having frank discussions regarding pregnancy. Asking questions never hurts, and the more that a teen knows about safe and healthy sex, the less likely it will be that any additional unexpected pregnancies occur. Additionally, when we shed the stigma of talking with teens about sex, it can help them to become more confident in themselves and more likely to reach out should they find themselves at odds with what they want to do and what they know that they should do.

Teens get pregnant. We are living in an era where we need to accept that fact and start to work collectively on making sure that teen mothers land on their feet, regardless of what decisions they make.

Guest contribution.

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How School Assignments Affect Your Teen: Preventing Stress and Anxiety

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 16, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Depression, Teen Help

The Challenges of Homework: 5 Helpful Tips to Prevent Teen Stress

Help Your Teens FreePikTeenStress-300x197 How School Assignments Affect Your Teen: Preventing Stress and Anxiety Stress is a part of everyday life, and schoolwork, busy schedules, responsibilities at home, deadlines, social drama and the expectations of others can all create stress in teens. 

 

If they have an active social calendar and do so many activities that they don’t have time for homework, that can stress them out and it’s all about finding a balance. Learning to manage stress means teens need to build coping skills that enable them to take daily challenges in their stride.  

 

Practice good time management

 

Encourage your teen to practice good time management by keeping track of assignments, practices, etc, with a planning app or calendar. The constant feeling that time is running out can be very stressful and planning can help to give a feeling of control. 

 

Of course, it doesn’t help to plan carefully and then not stick to the plan. Managing stress also means not procrastinating and keeping on top of assignments etc. Having a plan will give your teen the opportunity to reflect at the end of each day on how things are going and what tasks may need more time than others. 

 

Teens can start learning how to break their tasks down into manageable chunks and include time to relax or socialize. They can also learn how to divide their work into urgent, non-urgent, important and non-important tasks.  

 

Make time to exercise daily

 

One of the best ways for teens to manage stress is to get exercise every day and this exercise doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a hectic gym session. 

 

Taking a bike ride or taking deep breaths on a run releases chemicals in their brains that make them feel better. The endorphin rush they experience with exercise will give them more ability to focus on their homework and be productive instead of staring at a page for hours without making any progress. 

 

Teens often feel a sense of accomplishment from exercising and if they can exercise outdoors, this is another positive way to reinforce good mental health.  

 

Get professional help with assignments

 

 Teens are often faced with overwhelming tasks and they may not know which ones to tackle first. It may relieve their stress to know that they can get professional help with their assignments. British students should try Uk.EduBirdie because it’s a good place to buy an assignment. Students asking, “Are there experts in your topic?” will be happy to know that professional writers with experience in writing on a wide variety of topics are available.

 

Eat healthy

 

If unhealthy fast foods are the main source of fuel for teens, they are likely to crash and experience little energy after an initial high. Their memory, emotional state and learning ability are all affected by what they put into their bodies. They may experience diet-related mood swings, light-headedness and a lack of energy from eating too much of the wrong foods.   

 

Eating regular meals of healthy foods will help them to handle stress and perform at their best. Healthy meals will include a good balance of proteins, fruits and vegetables with not too many carbs or fats. While studying, eating healthy snacks can help them to keep going. 

 

Help Your Teens FreePikTeenStress2-300x202 How School Assignments Affect Your Teen: Preventing Stress and Anxiety Get enough sleep

 

It is easy for teens to let binge-watching Netflix or talking to friends on Whatsapp get in the way of going to sleep at a reasonable hour every night. When they operate in a sleep-deprived state, they are less productive and find it harder to learn.

 

Maintaining a sleep routine is of great importance to mental health and managing stress. Seven to eight hours sleep a night is recommended and going to bed and getting up at the same time in conjunction with relaxing before bedtime can help to improve teens’ sleep quality. 

 

Teens may find it hard to switch off their laptops, phones and tablets at least an hour before they go to bed but blue screens can interfere with their ability to fall asleep. Getting enough sleep can significantly improve their memory, focus, creativity and decision-making, all of which are important inside and outside of school.  

 

Conclusion

 

If teens want to learn how to manage stress, they have to learn how to find a balance between studying and all their other activities. They need to learn how to prioritize and decide what they need to focus on and what they can afford to let go of. Managing their time, exercising, eating healthily and getting enough sleep are all essential if they want to manage their stress effectively.   

 

Author’s Bio:
 
Emma Rundle is a star performer as a writer and has been instrumental in the success of the writing agency she works for. She’s good at writing poems, short stories, academic essays, personal statements and anything students might need her to do in terms of assignments. Her free time is for doing acrylic painting, playing lawn tennis and listening to jazz music.

 

 

 

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How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 09, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Depression, Teen Help

The Pandemic, Teens and Depression: How You Can Help

Help Your Teens PexelTeenDepression-194x300 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It Stuck at home for months on end and removed from their normal active social lives, many teens may have fallen into a dark period. Considering these unusual factors, a rise in instances of teen depression during the pandemic may not be unexpected. But by no means does that mean it should be ignored.

Research studies have revealed startling statistic evidence of just how much the pandemic has affected teenagers.

The three biggest mood conditions affecting teenagers between 13 and 18 years old (anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders) have been shown to have increased by 80% to 90% between the spring of 2020 and the previous year.

Substance abuse levels among teenagers increased by about 65% in March and April of 2020, and instances of intentional self-harm skyrocketed. In the Northeast of the United States, the number of intentional self-harm instances rose to 334% among teenagers in August of 2020 as compared to August of 2019. 

These statistics may be alarming, but that is all the more reason to investigate the causes of these all-too-common problems and search for solutions. In this article, we will take a deeper look at how the pandemic has caused an increase in teen depression. Then we will explore what you can do to help support your teenager.

Effects of the Pandemic on Your Teenager

In general, the teenaged years are already turbulent for most, and levels of anxiety and depression frequently begin during this 13- to 18-year-old age group. The life of a teenager is full of developmental transitions, and life transitions.

The hormonal changes of puberty coupled with the increased pressure of high school social life, applying for college, and impending adulthood can create an intensely pressurized period in any teenager’s life. 

But with the pandemic, not only were the usual pressures and anxieties heightened, but the typical releases were removed. Teenagers accustomed to venting with their friends after school, meeting with a variety of teachers and mentors, exercising during sports practice, and engaging in a variety of activities that stimulated and challenged them were now isolated inside their homes. Social activity, mental stimulation, and school all took place over the internet, and that social isolation coupled with increased time online spelled a recipe for disaster for many susceptible teens. 

Experts have not yet made direct links between the pandemic and increases in youth suicide. They have noted, however, that the pandemic has caused added stress on teenagers, and has left many teenagers feeling hopeless about the future as well. Instead of connecting with others, teens have been confronted with financial fallout and an unceasing flurry of grim news reporting which has left them stewing in negative thoughts that can exacerbate any pre-existing anxiety or depression. 

What You Can Do to Help

Allow Them Space to Breathe

Help Your Teens PexelTeenCell5-1-300x205 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It Many parents have found that their teenager has become increasingly withdrawn and uncommunicative during the pandemic. Even in the face of stony silence, it is important to make clear to your teen that they are not alone. Try creating a designated time to share openly- and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Make sure your teen knows that they can trust you, and that you are open to having frank and even difficult conversations with them. 

While they should certainly feel that their parents offer a safe space to communicate, it is also vital for your teens to have some healthy privacy and alone time. Allow them to recoup and retreat into their rooms to listen to music, be creative, read, play, or process through complex thoughts. Give them space to breathe but pay attention to any especially spiky moods and extreme downturns of behavior. You don’t want to smother your teen, but at the same time, you want to make sure they are safe. Try to strike a healthy balance between observation and trust. 

Maintain Social Connections

Particularly for teens going through intense emotional turmoil and facing down uncommon pressures caused by the pandemic, maintaining social connections is vital. Some parents have taken the approach of loosening social media restrictions, with widely beneficial results. Encourage your teens to continue connecting with their peers, even online. 

Just make sure to implement healthy boundaries and restrictions so your teenager isn’t chatting online to the exclusion of everything else- particularly exercise and sleep. Try implementing a nighttime social media curfew, so your teens are not exposed to the glaring blue light of the screen right before bedtime. You may also want to restrict social media usage to age-appropriate platforms. That can help protect your teens from cyber bullies, hackers, spam, or inappropriate content. 

You can also organize family and friend gatherings via video chat. Your teen may be reticent to attend, but these reminders of pre-pandemic life can be helpful for increasing a feeling of social connection and reminding your teen that they are not alone. 

Implement Healthy Routines

Help Your Teens PexelFamilyJogging-300x207 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It While the last thing your teenager may want to do is participate in family exercise sessions, or follow bedtime guidelines, these are some of the most important tools you can use to try to combat the effects of anxiety and depression. Because anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders have physical bases, encouraging your teenager to get exercise and regular sleep can help ease the underlying disorders. This can be a vicious cycle; the less sleep your teen gets, the worse their mood disorder may become, thus making it harder to sleep or to go to bed at a reasonable hour. 

Try to help your teen create and maintain a regular daily routine that can provide a structure to their days and evenings. One of the most disruptive factors of the pandemic has been the removal of regular routines, which allow teenagers to disregard normal waking hours, school times, and bedtimes. 

Create a shared calendar to demarcate when online learning should happen, when your teens are expected to complete their chores, and even family outings for exercise and a change of scenery. Encouraging regular physical activity can help increase the body’s responses against depression and anxiety and regulate the sleep cycle. 

Bring in a Professional

Help Your Teens bigstock-Female-Psychologist-Working-Wi-237972997-300x200 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It You may also want to incorporate assistance from a designated mental health professional. Bringing an extra source of support can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety for your teen and can also provide extra support for parents of teenagers struggling with emotional imbalances. 

Talk to your teenager’s teacher or school counselors, and consider trying on internet-based therapist, counselor, or psychologist. You can also look into a variety of online mental health programs that encourage teenagers to engage with their emotions and connect with others, sometimes anonymously. 

Giving your teenager a safe space to vent and process their emotions with an impartial third-party professional can help a huge amount, and can allow them to talk about things they might not feel comfortable sharing with a parent or sibling- particularly when you are all sharing the close quarters of home during the pandemic. 

Connecting with Your Teen

The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, and some of the problems that parents face can sometimes be transferred to their kids accidentally. Remember that your teenager may be able to handle more than you think. Connect with them honestly and openly up to a point, making sure they know that they are heard, seen, and respected. 

Allow them to hide away when they need to, but also make it clear that you are there for them as a strong pillar of support, no matter how difficult it may seem. Let them know that you are available to help them get through whatever they are experiencing, and that together you can help ease some of the pressure that your teen may feel.

Check out our featured book, The Teen Depression Workbook for more resources.

Are you concerned about your teen? Exhausted your local resources? Contact us for a free consultation to find out if residential therapy is right for your family.

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Teens Are Not Okay: The Crisis Parents Are Facing

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 16, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Depression, Teen Help

One in every four or five U.S. youth meets criteria for a mental disorder

Help Your Teens PexelSadTeen-300x199 Teens Are Not Okay: The Crisis Parents Are Facing The pandemic has been extremely challenging for many people, but especially for parents and students. We have seen a spike in mental health concerns surrounding teens, from depression to defiance to losing their academic motivation.

Teens are most stressed and overwhelmed

American Psychological Association says that teens currently report worse mental health and higher levels of anxiety and depression than all other age groups—including adults.

San Diego State University researchers report that 12- to 17-year-olds experienced a 52 percent increase in major psychological distress, depression, and suicide since the mid-2000s.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry warns that one in every four or five youth in the U.S. now meets criteria for a mental disorder.

When striving isn’t enough

Dr. Michele Borba has been an educational psychologist for over 40 years, but has never been more concerned about kids and teens. In her latest book, THRIVERS: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine shows the urgency in updating current parenting and educational practices to follow science so children will have the potential to thrive and become their personal best.

“They are not okay,” she warns. “In fact, they are less happy and more stressed, lonely, depressed, and suicidal when compared with any previous generation — and those descriptions were identified prior to COVID-19.”

In short, our kids are failing to thrive, and if left as is will have grave consequences on our kids’ futures.

Many teens and kids have hopes and aspirations for their future, maybe college, or even the simpler things such as a family gathering — yet they are emotionally overwhelmed. These are good kids, they have goals and dreams but suddenly are feeling distressed and lonely.

How can we redirect a student that was striving and help them thrive in these challenging times?

Building THRIVERS

Help Your Teens BookThrivers-196x300 Teens Are Not Okay: The Crisis Parents Are Facing Some young people aren’t struggling; they’re thriving. They cope with adversity, develop healthy relationships, and embrace change.

They are ready for whatever the world throws at them, even in uncertain times.  Borba calls these kids Thrivers, and the more she studied them, she wondered, What is their secret? And can it be taught to others?

Through her years of research Borba said:

“Thrivers are made, not born. Yes, the strengths and skills that help our kids thrive can be taught at any age,” she continues. “But in our new uncertain world, it’s a moral mandate that they must be added to our parenting and teaching agendas. Doing so is the best way to raise a generation of strong kids who are ready and able to handle whatever comes their way.”

Dr. Borba combed scientific studies on resilience, spoke to dozens of researchers and experts in the field, and interviewed more than 100 young people from all walks of life. In the end, she found something surprising: The difference between those who struggle and those who succeed comes down not to grades or test scores, but to seven essential character strengths that set Thrivers apart (and set them up for happiness and greater accomplishment later in life):

  • Self-confidence: Healthy identify, using personal strengths to find purpose and meaning.
  • Empathy: Understanding and sharing another’s feelings, and acting compassionately.
  • Self-control: Managing stress, delaying gratification, strengthening focus.
  • Integrity: Valuing and adhering to a strong moral code, ethical thinking to lead a moral life.
  • Curiosity: Having open-mindedness and willingness to try new ideas, take risks, innovate.
  • Perseverance: Exhibiting fortitude, tenacity and resolve to endure so as to bounce back.
  • Optimism: Learning self-advocacy and keeping unrealistic pessimism to encourage hope.

Each of these seven character strengths is like a superpower that helps safeguard kids and teens against the depression and anxiety that threatens to derail them. And when those superpowers are combined, they become even more potent, creating a Multiplier Effect that prepares children to succeed in our fast-paced, ever-changing world.

Yes, they can be taught at any age, says Dr. Borba.

Order THRIVERS on Amazon today.

******************************

Article originally written by Sue Scheff on Psychology Today.

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Teen Depression and Sadness: What Parents Need to Know

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 01, 2019  /   Posted in Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help

10 Common Causes of Teen Depression

Help Your Teens BigstockSadTeen-300x199 Teen Depression and Sadness: What Parents Need to Know We are living in a time where teen depression is on the rise. Sadly, we are seeing suicide as the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24.

With today’s digital lives there could be so many reasons.  Are they missing the routine of a real-life social life?  Are they being harassed online?  Or are they watching their friends on social media have a blast while they believe their life is boring or they are simply missing out?

What was true a generation ago is still true today, teens are unpredictable and still difficult to figure out. However depression is a very real emotion.

Adolescence can be a very turbulent and difficult time, even for the most well-adjusted child. Depression strikes teenagers and adults alike, and can have far-reaching implications when kids suffer from emotional difficulties that they aren’t sure how to manage.

After noticing the signs of depression in your teen and helping him to get the treatment he needs, understanding the root of his depression can help to make the situation more manageable for everyone involved.

Help Your Teens TeenStress55-300x240 Teen Depression and Sadness: What Parents Need to Know While this is by no means a comprehensive list of all causes of teen depression, these ten situations can be very common contributing factors to depression.

  1. Academic Stress –(Especially if your teen is applying to colleges). Kids are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed academically, especially as the costs of higher education rise and more families are reliant upon scholarships to help offset the expense. Stressing over classes, grades and tests can cause kids to become depressed, especially if they’re expected to excel at all costs or are beginning to struggle with their course load.
  2. Social Anxiety or Peer Pressure – During adolescence, teenagers are learning how to navigate the complex and unsettling world of social interaction in new and complicated ways. Popularity is important to most teens, and a lack of it can be very upsetting. The appearance of peer pressure to try illicit drugs, drinking or other experimental behavior can also be traumatic for kids that aren’t eager to give in, but are afraid of damaging their reputation through refusal.
  3. Romantic Problems – When kids become teenagers and enter adolescence, romantic entanglements become a much more prominent and influential part of their lives. From breakups to unrequited affection, there are a plethora of ways in which their budding love lives can cause teens to become depressed.
  4. Traumatic Events – The death of a loved one, instances of abuse or other traumatic events can have a very real impact on kids, causing them to become depressed or overly anxious. In the aftermath of a trauma, it’s wise to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or signs of depression in your teen.
  5. Separating or Divorcing Parents – Divorced or separated parents might be more common for today’s teens than it was in generations past, but that doesn’t mean that the situation has no effect on their emotional well-being. The dissolution of the family unit or even the divorce of a parent and step-parent can be very upsetting for teens, often leading to depression.
  6. Heredity – Some kids are genetically predisposed to suffer from depression. If a parent or close relative has issues with depression, your child may simply be suffering from a cruel trick of heredity that makes him more susceptible.
  7. Help Your Teens FamilyDiscussion-300x180 Teen Depression and Sadness: What Parents Need to Know Family Financial Struggles – Your teenager may not be a breadwinner in your household or responsible for balancing the budget, but that doesn’t mean that she’s unaffected by a precarious financial situation within the family. Knowing that money is tight can be a very upsetting situation for teens, especially if they’re worried about the possibility of losing their home or the standard of living they’re accustomed to.
  8. Physical or Emotional Neglect – Though they may seem like fiercely independent beings that want or need nothing from their parents, teenagers still have emotional and physical needs for attention. The lack of parental attention on either level can lead to feelings of depression.
  9. Low Self-Esteem – Being a teenager isn’t easy on the self-esteem. From a changing body to the appearance of pimples, it can seem as if Mother Nature herself is conspiring against an adolescent to negatively affect her level of self-confidence. When the self-esteem level drops below a certain point, it’s not uncommon for teens to become depressed.
  10. Feelings of Helplessness – Knowing that he’s going to be affected on a personal level by things he has no control over can easily throw your teen into the downward spiral of depression. Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness often go hand in hand with the struggle with depression, and can make the existing condition even more severe.

It’s important that you speak to a medical professional or your teen’s doctor about any concerns you have regarding his emotional well-being, especially if you suspect that he’s suffering from depression.

Depression is a very real affliction that requires treatment, and is not something that should be addressed without the assistance of a doctor. You can also try the The Depression Workbook for Teens for insights and more information on mental wellness.

If your teen continues to struggle with depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to local help such as a counselor (therapist). If they refuse to get help or you find it isn’t benefiting them (your teen refuses to engage in the session), contact us to determine if residential therapy would be an option. Exhausting your local resources is always your first path.

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