Robert Brault once said “In the time it takes you to understand a 14-year-old, he turns 15.” Adolescence is a very sensitive phase of one’s life and brings a lot of emotional baggage along with it. Teenagers are more often concerned about the physical aspects of their being and tend to ignore the mental health. The rising case of teen depression is one such example which points out our negligence towards mental wellbeing.
There are multiple reasons why a teenager might become depressed. Depression initially triggers off due to changes in puberty, later aggravating due to parental conflicts and peer pressure. Teenagers are under constant pressure to perform well and score good grades in their exams. Parents can create stress by placing unrealistic expectations for a teen to achieve. Sometimes even due to dysfunction at home and not-so-proper communication between the child and parents, a teen can become depressed.
Outside home, a teen faces pressure from his teachers and peers. Relationship break-ups, physical and sexual abuse are other primary causes for depression among teens. They are pushed by their peers to try out alcohol, smoking, drugs and sexual activity.
Depression triggers a swirl of emotions within the teenagers which is generally seen in the form of an emotional or anger outburst. The classic signs of depression are anorexia and insomnia. But in some teenagers, it may also be characterized with over-eating or excessive sleeping. Most of them even engage in intentional self-injury due to feelings of guilt, worthlessness or failure in achieving the standards set for them. Among students, it is very much evident from low energy and concentration levels resulting in poor attendance and drastic fall in grades. They withdraw themselves from family and friends and lose interest in activities. In recent times, the teenagers have resorted to excessive use of computers and internet. They also indulge in violence and reckless driving. Due to loss of self esteem and confidence, they abstain from initiating talks or participating in group activities.
HELPING A DEPRESSED TEENAGER
It is time to pull up our socks and ensure that this growing concern is tackled. It is important to create awareness among people about the various hosts of pressures teenagers face in their daily life and help them overcome it.
The famous American humorist Arnold.H.Glasgow once said, “Telling a teenager the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath.” Parents, teachers, friends should offer genuine support by trying to understand their problems. They should hear their child and not merely listen to their words. However, setting deadlines and giving unnecessary advices should be avoided. Parents should stop pressurizing their adolescent kids over career and let them be what they want to. They should be encouraged to participate in social activities, mingle with fellow mates and other peers. Socializing with various people will help them discover what they truly are, what they want and where they fit in. Help can also be offered by encouraging them to participate in physical activities and pursue their hobby with passion and dedication. Meditation and Yoga are other means of combating teen depression and developing a positive attitude towards life. Parents must also ensure that their teen kid eats right and exercises regularly.
Thus, a combination of family and friends therapy can help a teen to cope up with depression. However, in extreme cases, where teens think of committing suicide or have even attempted one, a psychologist must be consulted. The necessary medication must be advised and parents must exercise utmost caution.
Help them understand that adolescence is a beautiful experience and not a nightmare!