It can be challenging for families of teens with depression to accept that someone they love and care about is suffering. Not only do families struggle with knowing how to respond to a depressed teenager, but they can also feel inadequate or triggered in some way by the situation. If a teenager in your life is depressed, one of the best things you can do as a family is to show your support for the teen and the family as a whole. The entire family can often benefit from seeking help for themselves as well as for the teen struggling with depression.
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Struggles The Family Faces
Having a family member with depression takes a toll. Teens with depression often find it difficult to manage their lives and responsibilities, and other family members end up having to take care of mundane and important tasks for them as a result. Many people feel guilty when they see that their sibling, parent, or child is suffering, and take on the role of rescuer and fixer to try to make things better. Not only is it stressful to take on additional responsibilities that a healthy teen would be able to take care of on their own, but caretaking behavior doesn’t address the root cause of depression in the first place. Depression can also harm family dynamics and relationships, as people who are depressed are often irritable and difficult to interact with.
Get Your Own Therapy
Depression is a family disease, so chances are that if a member of your family is depressed, you may also have some emotional baggage or wounds that need healing. It is not uncommon for families to focus on the teenager with depression to the exclusion of other family members and important things that are going on in their lives.
Private psychotherapy or counseling sessions are both excellent ways to get help and begin to process your feelings and decide how you would like to act moving forward. Depression can wreak havoc on the family unit, so even if you are not concerned about developing depression yourself, everyone can benefit from speaking to a qualified therapist that can offer unbiased, practical, and useful advice.
Family Therapy Helps Heal The Unit
While seeking therapy in a one-on-one setting is invaluable, family therapy is an opportunity for everyone, including the teen with depression, to share their feelings in a safe environment. A skilled therapist will be able to recognize unhealthy family dynamics and coping patterns and can help the entire family find and implement solutions.
Unhealthy family dynamics such as unspoken resentments often reinforce mental health issues such as depression, and family therapy is an opportunity to change these patterns. By bringing difficult or uncomfortable topics out into the open, family members can begin to make connections and see possibilities where before there seemed to be only chaos and conflict. Family therapy is also sometimes used to stage interventions with depressed teenagers who deny that they are struggling or refuse to accept help.
How We Can Help You
At BasePoint Academy, we have years of experience working with teens in safe, family-oriented settings. We specialize in treating teenage depression and offer programs that are tailored to meet your teen’s unique needs. Untreated depression in teens affects the entire family unit and only gets worse as time goes on. Depression can be triggered by a lack of sleep and unmanageable stress and increases the risk of self-harm and suicide. Signs of stress in teens include disrupted sleep patterns, irritability, and social isolation. Contact us today if you or a teen in your life are struggling with depression.