Being anxious and depressed is a part of every teen’s life. Taking the time to listen allows adults to guide teens to find out why – and figure out the helpful solutions that they need…

The teenage years can be tough, marked with physical and emotional changes, new choices and responsibilities, and evolving relationships with the people who surround us. But hormones aren’t the only thing troubling the teen years; young people are increasingly showing a general inability to identify the source of their angst and pain. These results have serious implications for those who care for kids.

The increased pace of life creates more stress for kids and allows less time to cope. Technology has provided valuable tools for gathering information and connecting, but at the expense of another important connection: The connection to family.

Many kids and parents have been able to navigate this terrain by adjusting schedules and connecting in unique ways, but kids who are predisposed to anxiety and mental health issues are struggling more than ever.

Teenagers find their purpose through relationships

When they feel less connected to their families and their peers, which tends to happen in our increasingly busy world, their mental health challenges are exacerbated. To make matters more difficult, the world keeps moving quickly around them, and they are unable to figure out what exactly is troubling them or how to reach out to family members to whom they don’t feel much of a connection. What they know for sure, is they are anxious, depressed or worse.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Teens are struggling more than ever with anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide

How can we help teens who struggle to understand exactly why they are struggling?

In the increasing pace of today’s world, how can we help teens who struggle to understand exactly why they are struggling? Part of the solution, it seems, is as simple as it is revolutionary: Reducing our schedule, putting down our phones, and listening.

Hearing a voice and making a personal connection is critical – and often what depressed teens are lacking.

Here are some basic steps to engage and support teens:

  • Look for the signs. Changes in your child’s behaviour, mood or overall desire to do things – as well as physical changes like headaches or problems eating and sleeping – could be indications of pain.
  • Let kids know it is okay to feel upset. Help kids identify their feelings, and let them know that life will go on and that they can learn to study, laugh and have fun again.
  • Designate more family time together. Organise family outings and at least two meals per week – without the distraction of electronic devices. Building and nurturing personal relationships helps young people express themselves and know they are heard.

Being anxious and depressed is a part of every teen’s life. Taking the time to listen allows adults to guide teens to find out why – and figure out the helpful solutions that they need.

Article by Daniel Daly, first published on ‘Washington Post’

Author: ANA Newswire and A4W Staff