Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Reaching out to a teen in crisis mode: A guide

Wednesday! How are we friends? With National Suicide Prevention Day being yesterday, I thought this piece by Maggie Hammond was a timely share. Maggie is Mom to two little people and many animals; and passionate about healthcare, the great outdoors, and world peace.
It's a tough time to be a teenager in the digital era. If social media doesn’t play its part, then it’s their hormones, their peers, how they look, and even what music or TV programs they like. As adults, it can be difficult to connect to our children when they’re going through this trying stage of their lives. After all, the modern world changes so much over the past couple of decades that we just don’t know exactly what it’s like for them anymore.

The difficulties of being a teenager pass for some, but there are young people who need additional support as they deal with any mental health or addiction issues that affect them. If you are a parent, guardian or caregiver to a teenager experiencing such problems, here are some ways you can strengthen your relationship with them.

Let them know you’re there for them
Just reassuring your teen that you will support them no matter what will help them greatly as they seek treatment for their mental health issues. Tell them you love them and that they have nothing to be ashamed about their condition.

Talk to them - and listen
It may be a difficult one to do, but starting a conversation about mental health is crucial for you both. However, you shouldn’t try and not ‘fix’ the problem, even if it is your parental instinct.

Additionally, once you do start talking, listen. Show you’ll always be there to hear what your teen has to say about their mental health, no matter when that could be. Consistently being available for them is much, much better than having just that one chat every so often.

Open up about your family history
If you or another member of your family has experienced a mental health problem, tell them about it. Not only will they learn about your experiences, but they’re more likely to open up about how they feel as well. It will also help to remove the stigma of mental illness in the process.

Ask for help
You won’t have all of the answers, and it’s okay to say you don’t know what to do to support your child. Go out and find what resources are available to you and your teenager, in addition to what’s on offer through your physician or mental health professional.

Attending programs or going to residential treatment centers, such as those offered by Ignite Teen Treatment, may help them overcome their struggles. Support groups in your local area, or from reputable resources online, could also provide you, your family and your teen with advice to help you all through this time. You can also make adjustments at home, or speak to your child’s school about what they can do; it could be changes with scheduling, classroom setup, or asking to provide additional instructions for work.

Take care of yourself
You can’t provide the support your teenager needs if you are not in a good place. It’s why you need to take the time to look after yourself, which means you can be there for your child when they need you the most.

Let's keep talking about mental health issues. Not doing so does a disservice to everyone. 

I've only written about September 11 once, and you can find that here

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