Parenting is not an easy task, no one is perfect in parenting no matter how much we love our children. From the day they were born, until our last breath. We always want to be part of their activities and sometimes we do not notice that we are going too far. When they are still toddlers, their needs are simpler, providing them the food they want while making sure that it is healthy most of the time. But watching our child becoming an adult is different, approaching their adolescence period. Nowadays, teenage depression and anxiety disorders are real illnesses that is an issue worldwide. These are mental health problems should not be ignored and need to be addressed, especially as researchers are finding that cases in teens are on the rise. As studies revealed, depression doesn’t just manifest itself as sadness – the condition can be difficult to spot especially in teenagers. Our child may look healthy and happy as we see them. Most teenagers have good mental health however multiple physical, emotional and social changes can make adolescents vulnerable to mental health problems – including exposure to poverty, abuse, or violence. There has been a lot of advocates promoting psychological well-being and protecting teenagers from adverse experiences and risk factors that may somehow impact their well-being during adolescence period. It is also for their physical and mental health in adulthood as we know that adolescence is a crucial period for developing and maintaining social and emotional habits important for mental health.
As parents, we should be the first and foremost aware of it, making sure that they have healthy sleep patterns, let them have a regular exercise, let them develop coping and problem-solving, the interpersonal skills are crucial and learning to manage their emotions towards different situations. The home environment and the family are their first source of support, teachers at school and in the wider community that they live in are also important. Mental illnesses can cut across all ages especially in teenagers, so as parents we have to be aware and we should know our children. This is the worldwide message that mental health experts are sending to the public. Our teenagers are at greater risk of these emotional disorders due to the generation and society, stigma, discrimination or lack of access to quality support and services. In addition to depression or anxiety, teenagers with emotional disorders can also experience excessive frustration, irritability or anger. These symptoms can overlap across more than one emotional disorder with unexpected changes in mood and emotional outbursts – these symptoms we should watched out for. It is estimated that 10–20% of adolescents experience mental health conditions globally, yet these remain under-diagnosed and under-treated. Proper training of educator and officials in mental health knowledge as well as mental health programs should also be required in schools. As per experts, this is crucial as it can lessen the stigma around mental health and ensure the access and delivery of mental health services to every student.
We as parents and teachers – our part should also focus on preventive efforts like being equipped with enough knowledge about mental health of our children, for this could strengthen our teenagers and prevent them from developing these mental disorders. Experts found out that suicide attempts are mostly associated with a feeling of hopelessness or loneliness, so please let us not make our children feel alone. Let us do our best to make time for them. One of the main reasons why I decided to leave my office job and be a stay at home parent is to make time for my son especially at his age. At this digital age, a lot of factors can affect their mental health, social media and life status has that big impact in their life. Most teenagers are more conscious on their status and social standing, comparing their lives with others on the internet. A lot of communication through digital media about suicidal behavior is an emerging concern for this age generation. It is very important to address the needs of teenagers as they are the future. Depression can be treated and it starts with the teen having someone they can openly talk to about what they are going through. Whatever happens in our lives, we should never lose the line of connection with our children, find a quality time no matter how busy we are. The strong relationship and out love will assure us to know if our child is feeling down or if there’s an underlying mental health problem. “It can be difficult to tell the difference between ups and downs that are just part of being a teenager and teen depression,” said Mayo Clinic. So, if you find that your child’s have a single sign that interfere with their life, whether at home or in school, do not hesitate to ask a mental health professional as they will be able to assess what your child is experiencing.