How parents can help a teenager with anxiety or depression

A new study has revealed that half of young people experience a problem with mental healthA new study has revealed that young people’s happiness has dropped to its lowest level since 2009.

Conducted by the Prince’s Trust, the study monitored people aged between 16 and 25 and ranked their happiness levels in areas such as work and relationships via an index ranging from 0 to 100. The average figure was found to be 57, four points lower than last year and down from 70 when the study was first launched.

Over half of the participants said they don’t feel emotionally strong enough to deal with setbacks in life. 61 per cent of stated that they regularly felt stressed, 53 per cent said they regularly felt anxious and 27 per cent said they felt hopeless on a regular basis. These emotions were most commonly triggered by financial and career worry, with 54 per cent revealing they’re worried about money.

Of course, it’s well known that stress, anxiety and depression is tough for anyone to deal with, but couple that with the hormonal overhaul that happens during adolescence, and mental health issues can feel like a terrifying and unconquerable burden for teenagers and young adults.

Fear about what other people might say, fear of being laughed at and fear of not being taken seriously can often stop young people from taking the first step in admitting they need help.

This is why it’s so important that parents and loved ones know the ways to spot that children could be struggling and offer ways to help them cope and manage stress at home.

Here, David Brudö from personal development and mental wellbeing app Remente, explains how parents can best support their child through a difficult period.

Knowing the signs

When it comes to teenagers, it can be difficult to know the difference between a bad mood related to hormone changes, and a bad mood that is a signifier of an underlying mental health condition, like anxiety or depression. The best way to know if a teenager is depressed is to see if you notice a marked difference in their behaviour – if they are no longer doing the things that they enjoy, if their academic performance is suffering or if their bad mood lasts longer than a few weeks, it could be a sign of a mental health issue.

Learn to listen

If your teen starts talking to you about how they are feeling, make an effort to listen to them, without being too critical of them or overbearing in your worry. While you might feel the urge to advise them or to impart knowledge, they want to know that they can speak to you, and that you acknowledge their feelings, without judging them. Knowing that you are there for them, supporting them, can do a lot to help a depressed or anxious teen.

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