Finding Natural Opportunities To Talk About Depression At Home

Finding Natural Opportunities To Talk About Depression At Home

I live in Utah and we are facing a serious crisis. Our teen suicide rates have been steadily increasing over the years, to the point that we are consistently higher than the national average. Suicide is one of the leading causes of deaths for young people, a fact that has experts scrambling to find a solution to the horrifying problem.

This isn’t a matter of some kind of harmful fad. Teenagers are more depressed now than ever before, impacting an estimated 20% of those between the ages of 12 and 18. Could your child be one of those statistics?

Signs That Your Teen May Be Suffering From Depression

Depression doesn’t always look the same on every person who suffers from it. Some people are adept at hiding it. While you can’t be 100% sure that your teenager is depressed there are some common red flags you can look out for:

  • Apathy or lack of emotional expression
  • Irritability
  • Bouts of crying
  • Isolating themselves, such as refusing to leave their room
  • Sudden changes in friend groups
  • Lack of interest in activities that once interested them
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Drop in grades

Notice a problem? A number of those can be attributed to just being a teenager! That is why it is so crucial that you remain involved in communicating with your child. Unfortunately that can be easier said than done.

Starting The Conversation

Finding natural opportunities to start this conversation can be difficult, so you may have to orchestrate some that sound natural. For instance, you could be talking about a television show that you know your teen watches. If one of the characters is depressed it could be a way to ask them if they have ever felt that way.

A friend of mine recently opened up a conversation with her daughter about suicide using the show 13 Reasons Why. It became a rather beneficial talk for them both and led to my friend getting her daughter into therapy to speak about her own suicidal thoughts.

You could use an example to get through to your teen. Try telling them that a coworker has been helping their teenager through a depressive phase and say it has made you wonder if perhaps your own may be struggling.

Probably my favorite tactic is to give them an incentive to talk. Once a month have a special activity that you do together, just you and your teen. Maybe you go out to dinner and a movie, or go bowling, or go see a sports game. Whatever it is, use that time as a time to speak candidly about their life. You will be surprised at how much they will open up in that setting, especially over time.

Find out more at Parent Learning Center.

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