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Cope with Adolescent Depression
One in five teens has experienced depression at some point, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). An episode of depression during adolescence can last up to nine months but, in severe cases, may last for years at a time.
It is important to seek treatment if your negative thoughts and low mood are affecting your relationships and/or your ability to concentrate, and especially if you are thinking about suicide.
Some effective strategies for coping with adolescent depression are listed below, including tips for teens and suggestions for parents.
Tips for Teens Experiencing Depression
- Seek and maintain healthy relationships. Surrounding yourself with supportive people can boost both your mood and your confidence.
- Eat and exercise regularly. Ensuring that you eat at regular times throughout the day and that you get plenty of sleep and exercise improves your physical and mental health.
- Stay active. Participating in sports and other activities can bring something positive into your life and give you something to look forward to.
- Ask for help. Seeking support when you’re overwhelmed may not be easy, but doing so can help you put things into perspective and figure out a way to manage everything that’s on your plate.
- Have realistic expectations. Understanding that everyone is unique and that no one is perfect may prevent you from judging yourself so critically.
- Keep things simple. Scheduling your time so that you are able to complete your school work and participate in the activities you enjoy can limit stress and keep you mentally healthy.
- Write in a journal. Expressing your emotions this way may allow you to delve deeper into your thoughts and feelings, which can help you work through them.
- Connect with teens like you. Joining a support group for depressed teens offers you the opportunity to share your experiences and learn skills to manage life’s challenges.
Suggestions for Parents of Teens Experiencing Depression
You can help your teen cope with depression by showing interest in his or her life and communicating your desire to understand his or her feelings. Understanding why your teen feels hopeless can be difficult and may never happen. But listening to him or her without judging, and putting yourself in his or her position (perhaps by remembering the roller coaster of emotions you may have experienced as a teenager), can help both you and your teen get through this difficult time.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, NAMI
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