The rate of depression in teenagers has almost doubled since 2014. Mental Health America claims that 10.6% of American teenagers cope with severe major depression. That’s 2.5 million children with depression.
Lifestyles, of course, have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. The reliance on technology has been shown to play a “significant” role in teenage depression.
But technology cannot be the only reason, and given that almost every teen has a smartphone, it is questionable whether technology has a great deal of impact in any way. There are well over 80% of teenagers with smartphones do have severe symptoms of depression.
There are many other factors that mainstream media and medical associations are not discussing. We’re not going to get political here, but we will address a couple of key mindsets which can help your teenage child overcome depression. Or lower the risk of depression.
First of all, let’s take a look at the symptoms of depression in teenagers.
- angry outbursts
- fatigue, lack of energy, and lethargy
- sleep problems
- aches, pains, or stomach issues
- loss of interest or motivation in activities they usually enjoy
- spending less time with friends or family
- excessive guilt or low self-image
- negative or critical self-talk
- less self-care (not showering or brushing teeth)
- drop in grades or disinterest in school
- short concentration span
- talk about death, dying, or suicide
Find Meaning in Purpose
Purpose and meaning drive emotional fulfilment. If there is no meaning or purpose behind everything we do in life, we are not nurturing our emotional wellbeing.
Yet practically everything we do in life has purpose and meaning. As individuals, we just need to acknowledge what they are.
Attaching meaning to your actions gives the things we do every day a purpose. In turn, this enables us to establish core values and standards in the way that we live our lives.
Thirdly, purpose gives us a sense of control over our lives and helps to develop self-worth.
If you can encourage your teenage child to think about what purpose they serve themselves in everything they do, they will recognise even the mundane things in life serve a positive and valuable purpose.
On the flip side, playing computer games or binge-watching Netflix with a bag of potato chips serves a negative purpose. They will become obese and even more depressed.
Walk in Nature
A growing body of scientific research shows that walking improves physical and mental health. So does walking in nature.
As a matter of fact, nature walks are used as a strategy to manage children with behavioural problems. Researchers believe restlessness in children could be due to a lack of engagement with nature.
The same is true for depression in teenagers. Outdoor recreation has been found to reduce symptoms of major depression by a factor of 1.723.
If you find it difficult to persuade your teenage child to engage in a nature walk, try tactics that make the adventure more fun. Here’s a list of ideas about how to make nature walks more exciting for kids.