Simple Solutions for Depressed Teens
So your teen has a formal diagnosis of Depression.....now what? You've decided to continue with therapy + that's awesome when they're in session, but what the heck are you supposed to do in the meantime? How can you help maximize their potential for progress? This list is not conclusive, but it should help give you a starting point. It's important to remember that #1 a diagnosis is not the end of the world! #2 The journey of healing is different for people. This means that even if you've suffered through depression, what [insert name] needs might not be the same thing you needed. Your role is just to offer support - let's get started!
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Re-Ignite | Help them re-ignite or find something they're passionate about to directly combat feelings of sadness. What do they love? Last week, I gave you some worksheets (click here for the worksheets) to help you discover things your teen loves to do. Some of those questions can be used to help you figure out how to help your teen through the slump! Allow them to use whatever coping strategies they want, as long as the strategies don't hinder the process. For example, a depressed girl drinking alcohol reinforces her negative feelings + causes her to think even more about her feelings of depression causing her to self harm. This is not an appropriate nor helpful strategy.
Bed | Get them out of bed + somewhat active each day! Depression makes you want to stay in the bed literally alllllllllllllll day. You feel as though the world is on top of you, everything is stupid, nothing makes sense, what's the point + so on + so forth. Sometimes in the fog of daily life the days you DO get out of bed, you might get a little spark of energy! Laying in bed also reinforces those negative feelings, because there is more time to sit + allow that cloud of negativity to hover.
Art | Music, art + journaling are all forms of art! Art speaks when the words aren't available! There is something so beautiful, inspiring + healing in allowing ourselves (+ others) to freely express themselves. We find healing in both our creation + in the very act of creating! Invite your teen to express themselves using whatever medium they prefer. If you want to really connect with them, join in on the experience! There are times where you could allow free expression + times where you might gently offer a prompt. Take your time + have fun in the process. Connection is the most important part of this process!
DGU | Don't Give Up! Even when it seems like your teen isn't making progress or you aren't helping them -- don't give up! What you are doing matters + they will eventually learn that it is safe for them to be vulnerable with you. Initially they may not buy into what you're trying to do - especially if you struggle with communication in your relationship.
Hope | Don't tell them there's hope - show them there's hope! Seida how the heck do you show them hope? You show them life can be different by helping them fall in love with the things they love again! If you're not sure what they love, it's okay to ask! Or if you have a teen that is resistant to discuss these things with you - trust in the power of observation + use these worksheets to help you get started!
S.O.S. | Don't be afraid to get professional help when you feel overwhelmed! These strategies are merely a starting point, but every person's journey to healing is different!
These are tools anyone can use to help aid in the recovery of a depressed teen. Depending on your role, these activities may look different. It's important to remember that this is a buffet of options + the teen doesn't have to use all of them at once. Consistently look for + comment on even the slightest positive change!
What are ways you have helped someone push past periods of depression? Perhaps you want to share a strategy that isn't on this list that helped you in your journey. Leave it in the comments below or share it with us in the Tribe Lounge!