StoneTree welcomes a guest writer today. Eve Clements is a grade 12 student at CCI, and the daughter of Dr. Tara. Here she is with her perspective on teen mental health. Thanks, Eve!
– The StoneTree Team
Rates of depression and anxiety in teens have risen 70% in the last 25 years.We’re in the grips of a mental health crisis, and as hard as it is to hear, in many cases, parents are doing the wrong things. Here are six signs to watch for in your teen.
It is common for teens to become more withdrawn as they step into a teenage lifestyle. However, if your child avoids things they used to love like sports and social events, or cuts off friends so they can stay home in their room, you may want to check in.
2. Changes in Eating Habits
Be aware of both binge eating and reduced eating. Social media has got a grip of much, if not all, of teenage brains, and can cause serious disordered thoughts around food. Small changes can be nothing, but catch them before they get out of hand, as these thoughts can be very hard to reverse.
3. Preoccupation with Appearance
Social media comparison is common with teenagers, and a preoccupation with appearance can be consuming. This can lead to social anxiety, and can go hand-in-hand with changes in eating habits.
This can be hard to catch, but is very important and very serious. It needs immediate professional attention, as it goes hand in hand with suicidal thoughts and can lead to attempted suicide.
5. Drastic Changes in Grades
For sufferers, depression is like a dark hole that can consume everything in life, including motivation. School can be hard enough on its own, without the burden of mental illness. Slipping grades can be a sign of deeper troubles. Watch for changes and try and create a solution… together!
6. Substance Abuse
Experimenting with alcohol or drugs isn’t unusual for teens, but when it reaches the point that it is no longer an experiment or fun, but an abusive relationship, things have gone too far. This abusive relationship can be seen in changes in mood or personality, unexplained injuries or weight loss, or extreme fatigue or other unusual behaviours. If this is the case, confront, talk calmly and openly, and create boundaries and a solution.
Remember that raising healthy and happy teens is about a healthy balance of teaching the child to make choices on their own, while passing on your own experience and wisdom. Both sides of the relationship need to be equally validated and understood.