Hear Hear…on all levels, right. But this is actually the first recommendation of an easy to read patient resource for families dealing with adolescent depression, that you and your patients can access here. As lovely as the picture above makes parenting look, the one to one (or even 2 to 1) ratio isn’t realistic or necessarily optimal for anyone. I think we can all make a great addition to any parent’s team, especially given the emphasis these recommendations place on nutrition, sleep and exercise as being central to improving mental health…full-stop..and in this age group.
But while some things are the same between depressed adolescent and adults, there are important differences we need to be aware of: like the best assessment tools and the barriers for teenagers (and parents) in admitting there is an issue. Think, parent guilt and over-attribution, standing defiantly on the top rung of that ladder!
They also mention different types of therapy for this age-group and I have to say the old CBT…oh yes it gets wheeled out yet again…really does offer something, given the kind of kids I’ve seen this work a treat on. This is a developmental staged characterised by curiosity and a desire to understand more about the real stuff of life…rather than the soft focus lens we got them to look through in primary school. I’ve seen teenagers benefit enormously from sitting with a good psychologist or GP who can explain the ‘brain mechanics’ of depression, or anxiety (amygdala activation that sends the frontal lobe executive control offline etc). They love the demystification and, in the best cases, feel re-empowered by this knowledge. Not perfect for every teenage but it does work for many. And then there’s the parental advice to discuss suicidal ideation.
Yes parents, even more than practitioners, fear the ‘planting of seeds’ when contemplating this topic with their teens but the opposite is true. This paper is hot on the heels of an editorial, revealing that 50% of parents were unaware of their teenager’s suicidal thoughts.
There is much to be gained from the ‘knowing’ and so much to lose from avoiding this one. It’s the beginning of another school year (at any level) and with this can bring significant stressors and provocation for mental health challenges. Let’s encourage every parent, to get themselves a team and take our own place in that invaluable roadside assist crew.
This is a succinct recap of the many investigative paths we need to follow when presented with kids or teenagers with behavioural disorders. From grass roots dietary assessment through to the key pathology testing that is most helpful in clarifying the role & treatment approach of integrative nutrition for each individual child.