While some people may assume that it is mostly adults who are suffering from depression, many teenagers are also struggling with this issue as well. With up to 50% of families now separated and divorced or too busy to raise their child properly because they are off at work, the rise in teen depression has been steadily climbing over the last ten years.
Here are four ways to support a teen if they are struggling with depression:
- Get Counseling
It is very important that they find someone who they trust and can talk to by getting some counseling. Keeping their emotions and thoughts bottled up will only exacerbate the issue which may drive them towards thoughts of suicide. When someone is struggling with depression, they can often feel as if there is no way out of the situation. So by finding someone to talk to, it provides them a safe space to release any negative emotions they might be facing.
- Lower Screen Time
These days, so many of our youth are locked up in their room either playing video games or on their phone on social media. And while it is not necessarily harmful for them to spend an hour or two enjoying themselves from time to time, most teenagers are spending more than nine hours hypnotized on a computer screen. This can cause serious damage to their developing minds as dopamine is consistently released by notifications and other reward systems that keep kids hooked to their devices. Over time, they need more and more of these rewards to keep them satisfied otherwise they can slip into depression. So it is important to monitor their screen time and make sure they are not spending more than a couple of hours a day for recreational purposes.
- Keep Them Active
Living a sedentary life is one of the most common reasons why any individual will find themselves depressed. The human body and mind needs to be active so that it can remain in a healthy state. Most importantly, it is important to push the body to the point of exertion so that it breaks a sweat. This not only helps to pump oxygen to the brain and release endorphins, it also help the body to detox. Because so many teenagers are glued to their devices, they are not outside playing as much as they used to, so it is essential to ensure they are getting quality physical activity outside in the sun.
- Healthy Diet
Another reason that teenagers can become depressed is because their diets are filled with foods that are not only void of good nutrition, but they actually can negatively effect their gut flora. Research has shown that what we feed our micribiome has a direct correlation with our moods and emotions and if a child is eating too much junk food without a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables, this can easily bring on depression. It is vital that a teenager learn at this age why it is important to eat healthy and how it effects their psychological well-being.