Positive coping skills are not something we are born with. It takes education, practice, and reinforcement for us to realize that some behaviors are beneficial and some are not. In family life, it is incredibly important to learn the positive coping skills that help individuals manage stress, support one another, and stave off depression.
Stress Management, Positive Coping Skills, and Suicide Prevention.
Managing stress and teaching positive coping skills for teens is a critical component of parenting and helping adolescents combat suicidal thoughts, or worse, suicide attempts.
Erratic, hormonal, dramatic teenage behavior can be difficult to distinguish from an adolescent who is in need of mental health therapy. It is simple for parents to think their child is moving through a stage or having an issue with peers that will pass with time.
Teenagers with a mood disorder, such as depression, often present in a different way than an adult might expect. And in the midst of the difficult teenage years, the combination of mood changes and behavioral issues are easily missed. Also, in our hectic day-to-day lives, positive coping skills can be fleeting.
Unfortunately, for a rising number of families, overlooking the signs of struggle may have life-threatening consequences. Suicide rates continue to climb in the U.S. and the pressure on adolescents is also on the rise.
Depression and Suicide Are Ever-Increasing Problems for Teens
Mental illness is a problem we tend to think of as an adult issue; however, 50 percent of psychological disorders develop before someone turns 14 years old. One out of every 12 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 are diagnosed with clinical depression. These adolescents typically suffer from symptoms for at least six months before any intervention is received. Since suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24, half a year of fighting a losing battle with undiagnosed depression may be too long to wait for many.
Tips for Parents to Prevent Depression in Their Teens
Positive coping skills for teens are a powerful component of suicide prevention. Often teens and their families don’t know how to handle conflict or stress. However there are tools readily available that can break through stress and bolster resilience. Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia wrote “A Parent’s Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens.” He believes that raising kids with as many positive coping skills as possible is the best way to fend off depression. The more skills teens have to bolster themselves through the difficulties of an increasingly complex world, the better their chances of avoiding issues with their mental health. Parents can do this by:
- Lead by example; when they themselves hit a rough spot, they can use positive coping strategies
- Focus on emphasizing balance in life; in other words, don’t ever encourage your child to only have one positive outlet
- Help them understand their aim should be to please themselves not their parents, so they can learn to find their own strengths
- The moment you notice symptoms, take your child to a counselor; err on the side of caution when it comes to your child’s mental health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed an interactive website with Dr. Ginsburg’s information. The site is equipped with tools for parents. And, it helps teens develop their own stress management plan.
If your teen needs help with a mental health issue, there is nothing to fear. Our professional admissions team is available to answer any questions.
There are many resources to help you and your family face obstacles with the support of skilled professionals. Your healthcare provider can always answer questions and help steer you in the right direction. No one should suffer in silence.
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