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Teens and Depression – Part 2

By Maxine Roeper Cohen, M.S.

We live in challenging and dangerous times. Consider the school shootings which occurred during the past few months. Incredibly, these murders were committed by teenagers, although nobody at the time was able to predict that those teens were in such states of crises that they literally exploded at their schools.  

I first wrote about Teens and Depression on March 9, 2018. You can find that blog in the CCE Family Health and Wellness blog archive. It is not easy being a teenager in today’s fast paced world. There are huge expectations placed upon teens by parents, teachers, peers, and many times by the teens themselves! Couple these demands with heavy academic pressure, extracurricular activities, and/or jobs after school. Into that mixture add peer pressure and possible bullying (either in person or more likely online where it is constant and unavoidable). It is easy to see how this can lead teens to feeling overwhelmed, worn out, stressed, and demeaned.  

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, at least one-fifth of the teen population in the U.S. has been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Think about all the teens who have not been diagnosed but are living with depression, anxiety, or other mental issues and are suffering in silence. 

It is vital to help teens learn how to face stress and cope with it. As parents, we can help them develop problem-solving skills so that they can blossom into confident adults. Teens need to be reassured that they are not alone when they face overwhelming situations. Keep the lines of communication open every day. Maintain an atmosphere of caring, loving, and sensitivity to all members of your family. A teen’s ability to rebound from adversity is bolstered within this type of supportive home environment. 

Here are some resources that you as a parent might find helpful in understanding your teen: 

“The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young adults” by Frances Jensen, M.D. 

“Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers” by the American Psychological Association – you can read this online 

“Positive Adolescent Mental Health Resilience” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – you can read this online

Maxine Roeper Cohen is a Parent Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at mc333@cornell.edu.

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