Teen mental heath is taking a hit!
According to Kristina Fiore at MedPageToday, looking at medical claims filed for teens, comparing 2020 to 2019, overdose was up 119%, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 94%, Major Depression 84% and Adjustment Disorder 90%. That's just for the families who have health insurance that covers mental health and know how to find care.
What about all those families who didn't know how to find help, couldn't get services, or couldn't afford co-pays to access to mental health care? I'm guessing if you looked at all teens, not just those showing up with insurance, the numbers would be even more horrifying and staggering!
There is too much stress and it's causing our teens, and so many others, to be overwhelmed, and unraveling.
Those numbers tell us medical claims for adolescent mental health have doubled from 2019 to 2020. No surprise. We've all seen it in our homes and in our communities. 2021 is probably going to have even higher numbers. Teens are lost at sea amidst the pandemic, quarantine, on-line school, shut-downs, etc. They don't know how to find their way.
But they don't have to stay lost. You, as their parent, can be their lighthouse, the beacon that helps bring them back from the storm.
I had a teen tell me that working with me this past year has changed her life. She had been depressed and suicidal. She was lost at sea. But, she has worked hard. Her parents have worked hard. I got to be the one to show her family where to put up the lighthouse, how to turn on the beacon, and then point her towards the light. They did the work.
It hasn't been an easy journey. Waves have tossed and thrown her all over the place... but I'm so proud of her. Now she laughs more than she cries. She's back in school, building health friendships, and finding her way. That's why I love what I do. Talk about rewarding! What a privilege to be trusted by families to walk that painful path and help them find their way.
You can be that beacon for your teen too. You can help them find their way. Whether they are just a little off course, or wildly out at sea, you can help point the way toward health.
This past week, in our Parenting Teens Facebook group some of you heard me share about the candy jar and how that relates to teen emotional health.
Call me crazy, but I do love my chocolate. I have fairly decent control, haha note the fairly. I can walk past it several times a day, but every once in a while, I just need some chocolate and I grab a few. The jar might get lower and lower, but no big deal, it's still there for me when I need my chocolate fix....
Until.... I take the last piece and then it's empty.... and well, that's just sad.
Because I'm forgetful, sometimes I go to it and I haven't replenished it and it's still empty.... and well, that's even sadder.
There is a limited supply, until I do something about it.
That's what resiliency is like. It's there when you need it, but it does have a limited supply. All kids seem to have a little resiliency, but with current events many have used up their supply... and they are unraveling.
It's not their fault. It's not your fault. Times are really hard for people emotionally right now. For over a year, they keep going back to the resiliency jar, but it's running out.
Don't let your child run out of resiliency... you as a parent... can help replenish that jar.
We've talked about physical coping strategies on our page - things like getting exercise, going for walks, learning relaxation skills, eating healthy, and good sleep habits. Those are all important pieces to put in your kids resiliency jar. Just a tiny improvement in the physical realm does wonders.
Today though, let's talk more about emotional coping strategies. I love the list of ideas from the Facebook group to help teens express and manage emotions.
How do you help your teens learn to manage their emotions and express their feelings?
Check out the blog post from a few weeks ago if you haven't already. Learn the EASER strategy and help your teen manage their feelings. It will help you help your teen manage the big emotions and protect themselves from thinking errors that lead to more negative thoughts and feelings.
You might be looking at that list above and wondering how can music help? Get the Music Playlist strategy guide (used in the Teen Resiliency Course) for how to help your teen use music to help manage their big emotions. If you have a teen who loves music, print it out and have them fill it in. While you are at it, make one for yourself too.
Use it as an opportunity to connect and talk through their selections. Ask when they have ever felt that way as they share each category. Shares yours too and talk about your own feelings. Remember to listen and connect with their emotion and how they are feeling before you ever try to correct a thought.
Times are really hard for everyone right now. Make sure you are equipping your family and building their resiliency to get through the tough stuff!
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