Teen mental health is in crisis, study shows. What can parents do?

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Recent results from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey add to this evidence. teen mental health is in crisis, especially with the number of teenage girls around.

found in the survey about 1 in 3 high school girls More than half of teen girls in the US have seriously considered attempting suicide, and 57% reported feeling “persistently sad or hopeless” – a record high.

In contrast, 14% of high school boys told the 2021 survey that they had seriously considered attempting suicide, compared to 13% in 2011.

Among LGBQ+ students, nearly 70% said they experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness during the past year, more than 50% had poor mental health during the past 30 days, and nearly 25% had attempted suicide during the past year Tried to

Alyssa Mayranz, a licensed mental health counselor and owner of Empower Your Mind Therapy, says the numbers are troubling, yet unfortunately, she “wasn’t surprised.”

“There are some things that teens today don’t deal with the older generation,” Mayranz notes, including social mediaWhich can lead to harmful comparisons and online bullying, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on developing minds.

So what can parents do to make sure their teen is okay?

Know the line between normal and not

“There are a lot of things that are typical with teens that are not a cause for concern, like normal mood[and]fighting with parents,” says Maranz. “Parents don’t know when it’s a cause for concern and what’s more normal, so I think it’s super important to draw that line.”

She says that if you see your teenage child, it could be a sign of something more serious…

  • is in an intense, long-lasting low mood
  • becoming more withdrawn or isolated, including not socializing or seeing friends
  • don’t want to get out of bed
  • engages in high-risk behaviors, including physical aggression or excessive substance use

Another sign that often goes under the radar? High perfectionism.

“A teen who’s really setting these very high, unrealistic standards for herself in terms of anything—grades, friends, looks—can feel bad,” she says. “When it’s really that high, it’s definitely a warning sign. These can often lead to depression (and) suicide.”

Discussing the recent survey results on CBS News “Prime Time,” Dr. Debra Houry, the CDC’s chief medical officer, said changes in sleep and appetite could also be an indicator.

listen and acknowledge

“When parents are more validating to their child and focused on what the parent is assuming is what they need, the adolescent is more open and willing to approach their parent.” Be prepared when they’re struggling,” says Meranz.

Therefore, it is intended to provide a solution rather than opening a dialog, which may look like this:

  • Responding to an upset teen with, “Oh, it’s okay,” “It’s not such a big deal” or “It’s going to be all right.”
  • or saying, “Let’s talk about how we can study better” or “Let’s make more thorough notes” when a child does poorly on a test.

Mairanz suggests listening and validating instead.

“Parents don’t even realize how their reaction to their teen can have an impact. … But too often, kids really just need emotional support. Because when they hear a solution , then they hear, ‘Well, I’m not doing enough,’ instead of, ‘Well, it’s a struggle and it’s understandable that you’re upset.’

Houry says that being “as open and nonjudgmental as possible” can help a child feel more comfortable coming out to their parent.

monitor social media use

Parents should look for a “real codependency” between their child and their phone, which may look like being on social media and not taking a break, Myranj advises.

“Especially if it’s affecting their ability to function, go to school, do their homework, be with friends … it’s important to try to make sure teens have a break from it all,” she says.

Don’t Be a Stranger to Your Child’s Circles

Not only is it important to talk to your child, says Hauri, but it’s also important to get to know your child’s friends and their friends’ parents.

“That way you’re able to have an open communication with the families around you, build that support system and have a good understanding of where your child is and what they’re doing,” she explains.

Don’t Ignore a Child Who Asks for Help

If a child seeks professional help, don’t brush it off. Experts say this is a signal to take action.

“Sometimes there’s still a stigma around therapy, especially with parents because[they]want their kids to be well and they take it very personally when we’re not,” Maranz telling. “It’s unfortunately common for parents to say, ‘You’re fine. It’s just normal teen stuff, you don’t need help.'”

If a child is not comfortable enough to seek support, watch for signs that they need professional help, including self-harm, increased use of substances, withdrawal from school, or changes in socializing.

make sure you are ok too

While it’s important to focus on the teen, Meranz says it’s also important for parents to realize that they need to focus on themselves.

“Whether it’s with their own mental health issues or specifically around parenting, kids pick up on a lot – so if a parent is really struggling, it’s important for them to deal with it,” she She says “Know that part of helping your teen is also helping yourself.”

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or distress, you can reach 988 Suicide & Distress Lifeline By calling or texting 988. you can also Chat With 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Here,

for more information about mental health care resources and supportThe National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am-10 pm ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email [email protected]

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