Several tips and guidelines to support a teenager with depression.
Adolescence is a turbulent time in which a series of psychological disorders can appear, such as depression.
In this situation, parents suffer from not being able to help their children as much as they would like. To do this, here we will see a series of tips on how to help an adolescent with depression that will help families deal with this psychological phenomenon.
Tips for how to help a teen with depression
Many parents wonder how to help an adolescent with depression but, to do this, the first thing we must do is delve into the very definition of this pathology and the implications that it entails.
Depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by a constant state of sadness and apathy, and that can have its origin in a specific event or in a series of experiences and characteristics of the person that have caused depression to be triggered.
Once we are aware of the situation we are facing, we can apply all the advice gathered here to be able to deal with the problem in an effective way, providing our child with all the resources he is needing to overcome the state in which, unfortunately, it has sunk. Some people will find more useful in some specific tips while others will do so in the rest, since each case is personal and unique.
The important thing is to have a range of alternatives to find new help methods or some complementary to those that we have already been applying, so that each person can select one, several or even all, depending on their needs. Let us, therefore, begin to develop each of the tips on this list to know how to help a teenager with depression.
1. Be aware of the problem
It is evident that all people have better days and worse days as far as their mood is concerned, and they can even have more or less long streaks in which sadness, joy or other emotions predominate. This is even more accentuated in adolescents, who due to all the changes they are undergoing on a physical and psychological level are more prone to experiencing these mood swings, sometimes very sudden and explosive.
So, as parents, we can be used to seeing similar situations with our adolescent child and we run the risk that the situation will get worse and we will not know how to give it the importance it deserves. This can happen, in the first place, because we are not able to realize that what is happening to our child is something more than a simple episode of sadness. But something more serious may happen, and that is that we realize the situation but do not give it the importance it deserves, thinking that it will pass.
And, one of the problems that psychological disorders entail is that many times they fall into the error of thinking that they will solve themselves. And, although sometimes they can remit due to the person’s own resilience, the logical thing is that they are treated as they would be treated with an organic problem, such as a contusion, a broken bone, a digestive problem or of any other nature. Hence the importance of the following advice on how to help a teenager with depression.
2. Seek professional help
As we anticipated, another of the keys to be able to face a situation as serious as that of a depressive state in our adolescent son, is to assess his state as necessary, and for this the most sensible option is to turn to a professional, knowledgeable expert on this problem, such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist
Thanks to their knowledge, they will be able to assess whether the situation your child is experiencing is compatible with that of depression and therefore will be able to propose the appropriate treatment.
It is true that, due to different circumstances, some people do not request psychological help while suffering from depression, either because they are unaware of the functions of this figure, or because of the social stigma that still exists today regarding mental health, or because they prefer to explore other alternatives, well because they do not have the means to access such help, etc. Each situation is very personal and the decisions of each cannot be judged lightly.
What is certain is that in some cases a depression can be overcome without the help of a psychologist, but with their help we will facilitate that the process is less extended in time, that the person acquires the tools to advance in their state as soon as possible. and improve, and that the impact on your life is the least possible. Hence, one of the best tips on how to help a teenager with depression is to find a professional who will give you the guidelines required to overcome the problem as soon as possible.
3. Unconditional support
Unconditional support is something parents should offer their children in any situation, but all the more so when it comes to such a sensitive issue as psychopathology, and depression is.
A person in a state of depression is like a castaway floating adrift in the sea. You may be lucky and find a board to hold onto and land soon, but it will certainly be easier if you have someone to reach out and rescue you.
Support is always important, but it is even more so if it comes from reference figures, personalized in this case by the father, mother or legal guardian. Due to the characteristics of depression, the adolescent may be reluctant to receive help, prefer to be alone or even get angry when trying to worry about them and know what they need, but it is important that the support does not stop, although the answer is not what we would like at first.
Therefore, if we think about how to help an adolescent with depression, it is essential to keep an outstretched hand at all times and give our child all the resources he may need to, little by little, go back in his pathological state of mind until finally overcoming depression. The role of parental support is essential in this endeavor and we must be aware of this to make the most of this valuable resource.
4. Repair the causes
The next point would refer to the repair of those situations that would be causing the problem. This advice on how to help a teenager with depression can be fulfilled in some cases, but not in all, since we have already seen that this disorder does not always have a specific origin, or at least it is not as visible as we might think. For this reason, we must always adapt to what we know and to the guidelines that the professional therapist gives us in this regard.
However, if it is evident that there is a situation that is disturbing our child’s mood to the point of causing depression, we must act on it. The casuistry can be very varied, and can involve from problems with your circle of peers, unwanted situations at school (such as bullying, or difficulties in studies), a duel before the divorce of your parents, the death of a relative close, or many other situations.
Obviously, some events will be more likely to be repaired than others, but the important thing is what we do about them, make the situation have the least possible impact on our child and, above all, give him the tools so that he can express how he feels in this regard, what are your needs and, as we saw in the previous point, accompany you on all that path, until you manage to overcome it, thanks to all the help received and especially to your own work in this regard.
5. Support from your circle
Although parental help is vital, adolescents often find it easier to listen to their own friends.
Therefore, we must use this tool and also ask those people who make up our child’s closest circle of friends for their collaboration, since they may have more capacity to “deliver the message” and be closer to him, and that is that adolescents often tend to maintain a communicative distance with their parents.
In this way we will achieve two things, firstly, our son will have more people supporting him, which is what he needs in his situation, and secondly, we will have powerful allies to better serve as a communication link between him and us, in a way bidirectional, and therefore is not inconsiderable advice on how to help a teenager with depression.
- Barra, E., Cerna, R., Kramm, D., Véliz, V. (2006). Health problems, stress, coping, depression and social support in adolescents. Psychological therapy.
- Leyva-Jiménez, R., Hernández-Juárez, AM, López-Gaona, G. (2007). Depression in adolescents and family functioning. Medical Journal of the Mexican Institute of Social Security.
- Pardo, G., Sandoval, A., Umbarila, D. (2004). Adolescence and depression. Colombian journal of psychology.