Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
We are almost in the month of March, ushering in the College Basketball Playoffs (March Madness) and the hopeful feeling that Spring is right around the corner.
And some schools are finally opening part-time, which will give some social relief to teens.
There's still work to be done.
This positive news may seem to offer some relief to parents that the “depression conversation” may not be necessary.
But I wish to remind you of recent statistics that were published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression among kids ages 14 to 17 increased by more than 60 percent.
The increases were nearly as steep among those ages 12 to 13 (47 percent) and 18 to 21 (46 percent), and rates roughly doubled among those ages 20 to 21.
In 2017—the latest year for which federal data are available—more than one in eight Americans ages 12 to 25 experienced a major depressive episode.
Our advice to parents
At A Brighter Day, we urge you to take time every day, and we mean every day, to talk with your teen about their state of mind. Don’t take for granted that a smile or shrug is good enough. Don’t let their cell phone or video game be the excuse to not have great conversations. Don’t let dinner not be a family affair. You know in your heart of hearts that their safety and well-being are top responsibilities.
If for any reason you are scared or just over-the-top worried about your teen, then you can call 2-1-1 anytime (24/7) and get immediate help.
And, calling a Family Therapist (MFT) for a good conversation may give you insights as to positive actions you can take.
Thinking “this too shall pass” is all too easy. The adolescent years are often characterized by testing boundaries, frequent mood swings, and rebelling against the rules. That means it’s all the more important to keep true to your values and goals as a parent. The goal is for the family to come out the other side healthy and happy.
We urge you to take action with your teen. As a parent who learned that teen depression is insidious and rampant much too late, I would take the most proactive approach beginning with conversation, followed up, if necessary, with action.
Call us anytime or look at our Resources for you. There are pages upon pages of great information for you.
All my best,
Founder, A Brighter Day