If you’re a parent with a teenager who’s struggling with depression, know that you aren’t alone if you feel confused and aren’t sure what to do. Many parents of children with mental health issues, no matter how serious, are left perplexed when they notice signs of sadness, behavioral issues, or hopelessness in their adolescence. The good news is that there are many professionals and even treatment centers out there who can help your teenager to manage their mental illness or give them skills to get through a challenging time. Whether you decide to start with a therapist or need to check your child into a residential treatment center for cognitive behavior therapy, here are a few things to consider when it comes to helping the adolescent you love.
Understand your options.
The first step in getting your struggling adolescent help with mental illness, a mood disorder, or teen depression is to talk to a doctor or therapist about treatment programs in your area. For teens who struggle with substance abuse, a residential treatment program might be a better idea than outpatient therapy. On the other hand, for a child struggling with mild anxiety or feelings of social isolation during the pandemic, something as simple as seeing a therapist regularly could be enough to help fend off a major depression.
In talking to a doctor or licensed therapist about options for treatment centers for teenage depression for young adults, you’ll put yourself in the position of being able to make a more educated decision around what might be in your child’s best interest.
One great way to help a teenager struggling with adolescent depression is to let them know you care. Finding family therapy for everyone in your family system could be a great way to show your child they are not alone. If your child is resistant to family therapy, another way to get involved would be in asking to help with making decisions about your child’s treatment plan.
For older teens, consider having an open conversation about their feelings on psychotherapy and whether they would be open to a treatment facility, group therapy, or even checking into a depression treatment center. In taking an interest and allowing your child to help in making big decisions, you’ll be empowering them but showing that you care, too.
If your child is open to working through the healing process in an inpatient program, it’s a good idea to help them pack and do what you can to make it feel more like a team effort. Start by calling your child’s treatment center and asking about rules. In some cases, you might be surprised about things like requirements that young adults pack T-shirt bras instead of those with wires. Being prepared and there to explain these things to your child will help.
Find help for yourself.
You are your child’s best adult role model. Even if it doesn’t seem that way, your child is watching you. As a parent of a child with depression or other mental health issues, there’s no doubt that their sadness is impacting you. One great way to help yourself and your child is to get your own therapist so that you can explore your own feelings regarding things like your child’s suicidal ideation or high-risk behaviors. In having that professional you can trust and turn to, you’ll also be able to better understand what treatment is like for your child.
In the end, whether you and your child chose talk therapy or a more intense form of treatment, the most important thing to remember is that you’ve already taken a big first step in noticing your child’s change in mood. Remaining calm, finding resources, and being willing to get help for both of you are the best things you can do.