A 2016 study carried out by National Institute of Mental Health found that 12.8% of adolescents experienced a depressive episode. Depression is a lot more common than we might think. NAMI outlines a few ways to assist your child who might be struggling with their mental health.
Recognize the warning signs:
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of interest
- Eating changes
- Lack of energy, motivation
- Thoughts of suicide or death
Get help from a professional.
- Ask for suggestions from your pediatrician
- Take them to a mental health professional
- Look online for mental health resources, articles, tips, etc. such as American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Provide emotional support.
- Encourage your child to talk about how they are feeling
- Listen to what they have to say
- Acknowledge their struggles
- A healthy lifestyle is important, both mentally and physically.
- Eat healthy
- Get a good amount of sleep
Help your child feel connected. Isolation is a common side effect of depression.
- Encourage participation in school clubs or activities
- Plan family activities
- Encourage friendships and socialization
- Most importantly, be supportive and make sure your child feels heard.
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