Think drugs and alcohol are the biggest threat to your kid this school year? Think again.
7 out of 10 teens say anxiety and depression present a major problem among their peers.
A new study shows that millions of American teenagers are anxious and depressed. NBC Nightly News reports that 65 percent of teens with depression, and 80 percent of those with anxiety do not receive any treatment.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 American teens aged 13-18 will experience a mental health condition, and 90 percent of people who die by suicide have symptoms of an underlying mental illness.
With the right tools and knowledge, we all have the power to change the way people SEE and approach mental illness. And with statistics like these, it’s impossible as a parent not to talk with our own kids about the mental health threats they’re facing today.
Here are 5 ways to start a conversation about mental health with your teen:
1. Keep it Simple
Just because you’re talking about something as complex as the brain doesn’t mean you have to take the heart out of your conversation. Ask your teen how they are doing, with the intentionality of seeking a conversation beyond the response of “I’m fine.” Not everyone will want to open up about what they’re facing, but those who feel at ease by your authenticity will feel comfortable having a conversation about mental health.
2. Avoid Cliche’s
Remember that old school rule: “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say it at all?” Well, that principle applies here as well. When someone is battling depression and they find themselves unwillingly in a dark place internally, the phrases, “chin up,” or “it will get better,” are nothing but a bunch of empty words. It’s okay to not understand what they’re going through, but it’s not okay to negate the fact that they’re going through it with meaningless sayings.