Building Better Mental Health for Teens | Jaipur Beat

Growing up is hard. Teen years are often looked upon as memorable, fun times, but they are also potentially difficult ones. With all those hormones and emotions on an epic roller coaster, combined with life starting to ramp up its seriousness, checking in with teenagers and their mental health is really important.
To mark #WorldTeenMentalWellnessDay, we at Jaipur Beat think in today’s time it is important to make everyone understand what is mental health, what are the signs, the dangers associated, how to cure it, what is the role of the family and why it becomes important to seek the professional help.

Let us understand.

Signs of Depression

  • Persistent sadness, anxiety or an “empty” feeling
  • Hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and favorite activities
  • A lack of energy and persistent fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Physical symptoms including pain
  • Thoughts of death or contemplating suicide
  • Trouble sleeping Although depression can sap energy and motivation during the day, a person may often lie awake at night, unable to sleep, says Sarah Altman, PhD, a clinical psychologist in the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. On the other hand, some people with depression may find it difficult to get out of bed and may sleep for long periods during the day.
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities Some people turn to hobbies they enjoy when they feel blue, but those with major depression tend to avoid them, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). If you or someone you know usually loves to garden but can’t muster the energy to go outside, let alone work in the yard, that can be a red flag.
  • Increase in energy Ironically, when depressed people have made a decision to do something drastic, such as killing themselves, they may go from slowed down to far more energetic. That’s because they feel a sense of relief in having come to a resolution, so if you notice a drastic change like this in someone you love, it’s a big cause for concern. This can also manifest as reckless behavior — particularly in men — such as indulging in risky sexual behavior, overspending, or abusing substances, such as alcohol or drugs, according to the  (ADAA). 
  • Change in appetite Some people overeat when they’re depressed or anxious, but in people with severe depression, the opposite is usually true. “A depressed person may stop eating because he or she is no longer concerned with physical well-being,” says John Whyte, MD, MPH, a board-certified internist in Washington, DC,
  • Feeling or seeming on edge “In many people, depression can manifest with irritability, impatience, or anxiety and worry. Trouble concentrating is another related symptom.
  • Expressions of guilt Feeling excessive guilt or worthlessness can also be a hallmark of depression, according to the APA. People might feel guilty because they are depressed or aren’t doing enough at home or at work. 
  • Unexplained physical symptoms Since the body and mind are connected, depression can also start to manifest in physical ways that are resistant to treatment, such as persistent headaches, digestive issues, or unexplained pain, according to the ADAA.

The Warning Signs

  • Talking, writing, or thinking about killing or hurting oneself or threatening to do so
  • Depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
  • Having a “death wish;” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death — for example, driving through red lights
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Saying things like “it would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want escape”
  • A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • Talking about suicide
  • Increase in drinking alcohol or using drugs

What Needs To Be Done

  • Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. If your loved one is considering harming themselves or having other dark thoughts, immediate treatment is critical.
  • Create a safe environment. “If the person expresses suicidal thoughts, remove any potentially lethal items from the home, such as guns,” Dr. Dunlop says. 
  • Be kind. “Blaming or chastising depressed people for feeling low or unmotivated is not helpful and typically serves to reinforce negative feelings they already have,” Dunlop says. “Instead, open the discussion in a nonjudgmental way and encourage the person to seek help.” 
  • Be willing to support treatment. Offer to help your loved one prepare a list of questions for a provider about depression or drive them to appointments.
  • More than 80% of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated with early recognition, intervention, and support.
  • Depression affects almost 19 million people each year, including a large portion of the working population. People with untreated depression can usually get to work. But once there, they may be irritable, fatigued, and have difficulty concentrating. Untreated depression makes it difficult for employees to work well.

Curing Depression naturally

  • 1. Get in a routine
  • 2. Set goals
  • 3. Exercise
  • 4. Eat healthy
  • 5. Get enough sleep
  • 6. Take on responsibilities
  • 7. Challenge negative thoughts
  • 8. Do something new
  • 9. Try to have fun
  • 10. Avoid alcohol and other drugs

Role of Family

  • Learn about depression. The better you understand what causes depression, how it affects people and how it can be treated, the better you’ll be able to talk to and help the person you care about.
  • Take care of yourself. Supporting someone with depression isn’t easy. Ask other relatives or friends to help, and take steps to prevent becoming frustrated or burned out. Find your own time for hobbies, physical activity, friends and spiritual renewal.
  • Don’t run away
  • Don’t be in denial
  • Finally, be patient. Depression symptoms do improve with treatment, but it can take time. Finding the best treatment may require trying more than one type of medication or treatment approach.

Encourage treatment

Provide support

  • Encourage sticking with treatment. If your relative or friend is in treatment for depression, help him or her remember to take prescribed medications and to keep appointments.
  • Be willing to listen. Let your loved one know that you want to understand how he or she feels. When the person wants to talk, listen carefully, but avoid giving advice or opinions or making judgments. Just listening and being understanding can be a powerful healing tool.
  • Give positive reinforcement. People with depression may judge themselves harshly and find fault with everything they do. Remind your loved one about his or her positive qualities and how much the person means to you and others.
  • Offer assistance. Your relative or friend may not be able to take care of certain tasks well. Give suggestions about specific tasks you’d be willing to do, or ask if there is a particular task that you could take on.
  • Help create a low-stress environment. Creating a regular routine may help a person with depression feel more in control. Offer to make a schedule for meals, medication, physical activity and sleep, and help organize household chores.
  • Make plans together. Ask your loved one to join you on a walk, see a movie with you, or work with you on a hobby or other activity he or she previously enjoyed. But don’t try to force the person into doing something.

Mental health and therapy is no more a taboo. Helplines, Mental Health online apps can help your child. Let’s get your teen treated and pull back the strings of his life.

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