Teen depression and mental health have been a global issue, with teachers, healthcare providers and parents, trying to cope with the growing abundance of troubled young adults and teenagers. The ever increasing mental health concerns arising out of the gloom, social isolation, and economic uncertainty forced upon us by the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has only made it worse. Since March 2020 reported that more than 600 million students globally had been forced to study from home. Always lying in front of a screen and that too for a whole day, learning complex subjects like science and maths, without any access to laboratory experiments, face-to-face interaction and even constraints in interacting and meeting with friends. Peer groups have added to a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, and stress, reflecting falling grades. Not just with grades, the ordeal impacts the students' enthusiasm and optimism/energy levels, immediately affecting their mental well-being. While scholarly distinction has been one of the most significant mental stressors for young adults, online learning with a total lack of physical interaction only worsens.
WHO report on teenage depression
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, one in four teenagers in India suffers from depression. Do you know that today, suicide happens to be the number one cause of death among teens and young adults aged between fifteen-twenty nine years, contributing to over fifteen suicide deaths every hour in the nation? While there has been a developing awareness about this in the past few years, with colleges and schools offering therapy sessions and counselling, support groups and meditation camps etc., the social isolation and the lockdown brought about by COVID has severely hampered the attempts while also intensifying the problem.
Parents And Teenage Mental Health
One of the stages of human life is adolescence, which scientists generally consider between 13 and 19. This is an essential and sensitive state of life. Youth is considered to be the spring of a man's life. This stage is the time of development of all kinds of mental powers. There are many changes in their physical and mental changes at this age. Sometimes there is a lot of fierceness in their behaviour, and sometimes they become very emotional. Whatever happens in the child's future, the entire outline of it becomes almost in this adolescence. The main reason for the change in this age is the change of hormones in their bodies. In such a situation, it becomes a big challenge for parents to convince adolescent children. Therefore, at this age, parents should pay special attention to dealing with their children. While a lot is spoken about positively handling adversity, one wants to know that the same principles may not be enough for teenagers or young adults who are still in their developmental years and seek guidance, support and understanding.
Listed here are 5 keys pointers that can help teachers, guardians and parents to support and identify children and young adults with mental health issues. Here we are sharing some insights and inputs.
Recognize, support and trust
One of the critical aspects of treating any problem is first identifying the root cause, recognising and taking the situation, and realising a problem that needs fixing. As adults and parents struggling to cope with their problems, one often tends to disregard, brush aside or be in denial of a child’s mental health condition. But mental issues are real. Accepting and acknowledging the problem is the first step towards solving it. List and observe symptoms, speak or read up to their friends to understand what is ailing them. Discussing this with other counsellors/parents may also help ascertain the cause and the exact mental health issue plaguing the child.
Help establish targets and goals
One of the greatest motivators could be a goal or a target soon to look out for. As teenagers, they have their entire life filled with immense possibilities ahead of them. But they need to be helped with being counselled and seeing the bigger picture on how the elements that seem majestic right now may not be of any value five years down the line. And the only being that they can go towards in the modern state is to create a prosperous future life. Establishing short term aims and helping them accomplish those makes hope and strengthens self-confidence, ultimately helping them come out of the dark phase.
Give full relief and care
Having accepted and identified the problem, it is essential to have an honest discussion about the same with the child in a non-judgmental, supportive and safe environment. Lack of frank communication is often a significant cause of isolation for children when they cannot express their negative emotions or consider themselves failures in their parents' eyes. Often a loving, supportive, and non-critical dialogue can help tremendously in restoring emotional and mental wellness. No doubt, this conversation is a hard job to do, but it must be done.
Seek medicinal aid
In addition to the above and lastly, it is always vital and essential to seek professional advice and opinion and seek medical intervention if need be. While most teen mental health cases can be solved through therapy and counselling, some patients might require pharmacological intervention with long or short-term treatment plans and medicines. And it is vitally important that parents approach and identify healing specialists for this interference at the best time. There should not be any problem whatsoever in seeking this advice.
Give more freedom with time
When combined with physical presence and effort, acceptance and support can go a long way and help children manage and cope with their struggles better. Doing an everyday activity together, like reading, playing a game or going out for walks, etc., sharing responsibility and doing household chores, can help offer positive reinforcement and build the support available to children.
Takeaway Tips For Parents
At this time, parents have to maintain the mental health of their teenager by keeping the following things in mind:
- While not trying to impose their children's decisions, they should understand right and wrong in their minds. By assessing any decision on children, they become stubborn and angry.
- Parents should take care of their children's confusion and curiosity while taking decisions related to their children's future. It should help in choosing the right career.
- At this time, parents should pay maximum attention to their friendship because they have the effect of good and bad company. Children's friends should be monitored.
- Mother-father should tell good and bad experiences so that they can become aware of. It would be best if you never compared yourself with them.
- Parents should not resort to uncontrolled words and violence when children are angry. They should be explained. They should be treated as friends.
- One child should never be compared to another's behaviour because each child is different from each other (in itself).
The primary goal of all societies is to ensure that children can become healthy adults and contribute to improving their communities. The biggest obstacle in this is child mortality and poor mental health of adolescents and youth. Child mortality has been recorded significantly in the last few decades, but mental illness is still the biggest challenge for adolescents and youth. Most mental illnesses begin in adolescence or primary puberty. Do you know that 75% of mental illnesses occur before the age of 25 years? According to recent research by the World Economic Forum, one in four youth worldwide has a mental illness.