TEEN DEPRESSION DURING COVID


Teen Depression on the Rise

COVID-19 has significantly increased stress levels resulting in teen depression among teens. Many teens suffer from emotional difficulties due to COVID-19, which added to the stresses that many people were under at home, at school, and in their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic provoked various pressures for teenagers, from school closures to interruptions in routines to unease about unhealthiness. The harmful effects on teens grew stronger as the months passed. This toll could result from long-term social isolation, missed milestones, family financial difficulties, and, most significantly, school interruptions where teens are the most active. Due to school closures and remote learning, teens lost peer interactions, social isolation, and interaction with other supportive adults like instructors and coaches. 

The epidemic generated circumstances that may have intensified unpleasant attitudes. Increased symptoms of depression, such as sorrow, loss of interest in activities, and disturbances in eating and sleep, may have resulted from these alterations. Furthermore, the pandemic’s general uncertainty and disruption of daily routines likely intensify symptoms of generalized anxiety in youth, including panic, excessive anxiousness, and hyperarousal. Since the outbreak, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has heard from several teens suffering from anxiety and depression, which they blame on social isolation. Teenagers, who rely on their friends to help them negotiate the maze and stresses of high school life, have been particularly hard hit. Parents and teachers should look for warning indicators such as extreme risk-taking, major weight loss, excessive drug or alcohol use, and sudden mood changes.

How is your teen coping?

It is hard to spot signs and symptoms of mental health illness, especially teen depression during Covid. Teens often change throughout adolescence, causing mixed-up emotions that parents and teachers might misunderstand. Concerning this, teens exhibit dissimilar signs and symptoms due to their different situations, resulting in different coping mechanisms. Parents should not expect a particular reaction because everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Still, spend a few moments talking with your teen about their feelings and what you can do to help them through this trying time. Allow your teen to express their emotions. Common stress reactions include depression, despair, anxiety, and rage. If your teens’ feelings are constant and overwhelming, or if they prevent them from doing what they regularly do, such as going to school, working, or having fun, they may require more support during this pandemic. Remind them that all of these emotions are normal at the moment, and talk about simple self-care practices for anxiety and depression. However, some teens may not be able to communicate their feelings verbally, but they may show changes in their growth or behavior, while others may try to repress their feelings not to irritate others. It is important always to assist teens in coping and understanding teen depression. There are several coping strategies for understanding and managing depression’s sensations of grief, rage, bewilderment, and helplessness.

  1. Introduce teens to physical exercise

Like any other physical exercise, exercise boosts endorphin levels and enhances mood. Exercise also considerably reduces the exhaustion or tiredness some teens may suffer due to depression. A simple walk outside can be a terrific start.

  1. Propose some music playlist

Many teens who like listening to music may find it a helpful coping approach when feeling depressing or enraged. Because different genres and forms of music resonate with different people, writing and listening to songs can aid in self-regulation and self-soothing when feelings of grief resurface.

  1. Assist teens in connecting with others

In depression, the desire to withdraw from friends, family, and social life is extremely strong. Having at least one person to talk to about one’s experiences, whether a mental health professional, a friend or a family member, may be powerful and valuable as an emotional release and a way to feel less alone.

  1. Immerse teens in creating art

Art therapy often results in positive effects on the coping mechanisms of teens. These artistic activities help to enhance the mood, communication, and emotional control of teens exhibiting depression and other mental health issues. The visual arts can be a beneficial coping method or distraction in various ways, from doodling and sketching to hands-on pottery and ceramics work.

  1. Advise teens to write journals

While some teens like to think and process through visuals and symbols, others prefer to communicate through words. Reading or writing poetry, journaling, and other types of creative writing can assist in the discharge of the many emotions, thoughts, and experiences that come with depression.

It is, however, critical to be informed that these coping strategies might not work or help other teens, especially those who display severe signs and symptoms. With the additional negative impact of the pandemic, teen depression during Covid symptoms might be hard to disclose. 

Symptoms of teenage depression

It is tricky to differentiate between mood changes and depression, especially for teenagers already going through periodic ups and downs. However, parents should be knowledgeable about spotting signs that their teen’s mood changes are a sign of depression. Take note that no two persons are the same regarding the psychological and physiological signs and symptoms of depression. Your teen’s symptoms may differ from those you know who have suffered from depression. However, the following symptoms are common that can be easily noticed if your teen is depressed:

  • Frequent sadness 
  • Loss of eagerness for hobbies
  • Feelings of remorse or excessive self-criticism
  • Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions due to self-doubt.
  • Slowly moving or even talking slower than usual
  • Sleep disorders like excessive sleeping
  • Pains that don’t appear to be connected to anything else
  • Multiple ideas about death.
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Dropped grades and failed to do homework
  • High-risk habits
  • Spends more time alone and withdraws from family and friends.
  • Using drugs or drinking
  • Anger, irritation, or agitation
  • Energy loss or fatigue

These symptoms will occur daily for most teens suffering from depression. Outside factors and other events in your child’s life may cause some symptoms to change. Even if your teens only exhibit a few symptoms, getting them into therapy is the best action to take. Treatment for depression could be easier if it started when symptoms are less severe. Symptoms are likely to worsen if not treated. However, as parents, it is necessary to listen to your teen when they express their mental health struggles and assure them that their suffering and feelings are real.

How to Have a Discussion with Teen About Depression

It might be tough and daunting to talk to your teen about depression.

It’s one of the most difficult topics to talk about with teenagers since they frequently shut out their parents. They may be hesitant to talk to a parent or irritated by their apparent intrusion into their personal life. Regardless of how they interpret your interest, teens would prefer a parent to express concern for their well-being over ignoring them and leaving them to their own. Parents might not know this, but teens require and desire parental guidance. It’s best not to put off discussing with your teen if you notice warning symptoms of depression. Any attempt to get insight into a teen’s mental state may be met with opposition. If they believe you are interrogating them, they may become enraged. So, it’s vital to know how to talk to a teenager about depression. Here are some tips to get the conversation started.

  • Choose the appropriate time. Understand how to choose your chances. Do not try to start a discussion about mental health issues with them just after an argument or when they are engaged in joyful activity.
  • Focus on the facts. You have no idea what’s going on in your teen’s head. Telling your youngster what you’ve noticed is a simple approach to getting the topic started. Tell them what habits you’re concerned about and ask if they’ve noticed anything similar.
  • Validate. Let your teen know that you acknowledge how difficult things have been lately for them. Demonstrate your concern for their well-being. Be honest with your teen and let them know you are always there for them. It’s critical for a teen to feel comfortable telling you anything. Invite your teen to speak with you. 
  • Recognize their emotions. If your teen is starting to discuss their feelings with you, be there to listen. Refrain from using too many calming responses to make them feel better. Pay more attention and ask smart, meaningful questions. Even if you believe they’re being ridiculous or dramatic, validate their feelings. Tell them you were there and that you understand.
  • Choose a calming place. Simply being in the living room together, putting dinner together, can be a terrific opportunity to start communicating. When teens are in motion, they seem to be more open to talking about personal issues than face-to-face, which can feel confrontational. Walking, driving, sports, and cooking are all activities that encourage conversation.
  • Encourage treatment. Discuss teen depression treatment choices with your teen and give them resources. You are effectively educating your teen on the options open to them without becoming overbearing. Remember that you cannot fix your teen’s depression for them; any treatment must be motivated by their desire to get help and heal.

When to see your pediatrician

It might not be easy to know when to seek professional aid. It’s also worth noting that each person’s mental health journey is distinctive. Depression in teens is difficult to spot since it doesn’t always manifest itself in all parts of a teen’s life and might be episodic. However, teen depression is frequently severe. Waiting and hoping that depression will go away is a big mistake. If family and friend support and good lifestyle changes aren’t enough, it may be time to seek teen mental health treatment. Untreated depression can lead to other major concerns such as substance abuse, behavioral troubles, and medical problems. There are a variety of successful teen depression treatment options available, including:

If teens are suicidal or violent, medication may be necessary. While it can help some people with depression symptoms, it is not a cure and is rarely a long-term solution. It also has side effects and disadvantages, so it’s critical to get all the facts before deciding.

A therapist can offer teens tools to tackle depression from several perspectives and push them to take action. Therapy can cater to you with the tools and knowledge to keep the problem from recurring. There are a lot of facilities that offer treatment programs and therapies that will help teens improve their mental health issues.

Key Transitions Teen Treatment Health Program has offered the most effective treatments since 2015 that have helped hundreds of thousands of struggling teens. For youth struggling with various challenges, Key Transitions provides a combination of counseling and education. They teach parents how to manage and interact with their teenagers, resulting in better family ties. Most importantly, Key Transitions provided teens and young adults with the tools to build on their skills and acquire their full potential to live optimistic, enjoyable lives. 

Remember that reaching out or seeking professional help is critical, even if you don’t believe it will make a huge difference. You’re more likely to obtain the necessary direction and assistance if you reach out and are honest about what you’re going through. It is also possible that the mental health stigma that affects teens will be significantly reduced if teens reach out and express their emotions.  Some depressed teens, on the other hand, are determined to avoid seeking help. They may become enraged or even become forceful when you propose it. Even if your worries are ignored, you must look for help for your teen.

Prevention Of Suicide

While adolescence is when growth and potential awake, it can be challenging to handle preparation for adult tasks such as education, job, relationships, and living situations. These teenage transitions can cause various mental health issues, including an increased risk of suicide. Suicide is the tenth greatest cause of death worldwide, and completed suicide rates are higher in males than in women, with men up to four times more likely to commit suicide. Suicide rarely occurs without signs, yet it is avoidable. Understanding suicide and mental health concerns are vital to improving suicide prevention, assisting others with depression, and changing the suicide narrative. Suicide prevention begins with recognizing and responding to warning indicators. Suicide is not a certain conclusion for anyone. By opening the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and save lives. Some warning signals can help you determine whether a loved one is suicidal, particularly if the behavior is new, has increased, or appears to be linked to a traumatic incident, loss, or change. Suicide is very complicated and influenced by many causes, including mental illness, substance misuse, painful losses, violence exposure, and social isolation. The following are warning indications that someone is in danger of suicide:

  • Wishing to end his life
  • Looking for a means to commit suicide
  • Increase in alcohol or drug consumption
  • Acting nervous or anxious
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Feeling isolated or withdrawing
  • Voicing outrage or discussing vengeance
  • Intense mood swings

It’s critical to understand what occasions can put a teenager at risk of suicide. Spend some time reading through techniques to help prevent suicide attempts. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to recognize what can put your teen in danger. The following are some suggestions for preventing suicide:

  • Maintain positive sociable relations

Social ties enable us to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. Although some argue that having more connections is better, how connected we feel is more important. Make an effort to form or sustain meaningful relationships.

While you may believe their difficulties aren’t severe enough to warrant suicide thoughts or action, it is always advised to value and understand their emotions. If someone comments that indicate that they are depressed or contemplating suicide, you should take them seriously.

It takes no special abilities to be a good listener. Be patient and accepting, but don’t get into a fight or try to solve everything at once. Just be on their side and show that you care.

  • Take away access to potentially dangerous items.

A key element in suicide prevention is limiting or eliminating access to fatal items.  It is vital to question the person if they have considered utilizing a plan or method to injure themselves and if they have previously attempted to harm themselves. Knowing these details can assist you in determining the severity of the risk and removing their intended course. Medication or weapons are two common options.

  • Encourage them to get assistance.

Even if some suicides appear to be out of nowhere, the person was most likely depressed for a long time before committing themselves. Working to end the stigma surrounding depression and encouraging individuals who are suffering to get assistance as soon as possible can save lives by addressing the problem before it becomes too serious.

If you or you know anyone with the signs and symptoms, call the Lifeline for assistance. Anyone suffering from a suicidal crisis can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is open 24 hours a day, toll-free and confidentially. When you dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255), you will be connected to the nearest crisis center in a nationwide network of over 150 that offer crisis counseling and mental health referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Brochures, wallet cards, posters, and booklets are among the informational items available from Lifeline.  

FAQs

What should a depressed teenager do?

Being a teenager might be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be hopeless. Talk to a trustworthy adult about depression if you’ve been sad most of the time for a few weeks or longer and can’t concentrate or do the things you used to like. Take actions to manage stress, build resilience, and promote self-esteem to help you deal with problems as they come.

What is the difference between teenage angst and depression?

The key distinction between angst and depression is that, unlike emotional anguish, teen depression is a potentially fatal mental health disease. On the other hand, teen angst is described as apprehension or fear. It’s not uncommon for teenagers to suffer teen angst, characterized by emotions of uneasiness, worry, or apprehension.

Is teenage depression on the rise?

Even though depression is treatable, many teens do not receive the help they require. Compared to pre-pandemic estimations, the prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms has doubled during COVID-19. Severe major depression affects 10.6% of teenagers or over 2.5 million. From the previous year’s dataset, the number of teens exhibiting depression increased by 197,000.

Is depression common in teenagers?

With the various physical, emotional, psychological, and social changes that come with this stage of life, adolescence is often an uneasy time. Teens frequently overreact when things go wrong at school or home. Many teenagers believe that life does not treat them fairly. Moreover, due to physical, emotional, and social changes, such as poverty, abuse, or violence, adolescents are the most vulnerable to mental health difficulties. Adolescents’ health and well-being during adolescence and adulthood are dependent on protecting them from adversity, supporting socio-emotional learning and psychological well-being, and ensuring access to mental health care.

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