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Mental health expert talks depression in adolescents

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) – Lockdowns and the stress of remote learning are just some of things causing increased anxiety and depression among young adults.

TV5 spoke with an expert to see what we should be looking for when it comes to our kid’s behavior and what we should do if there are changes.

“Adolescence is about separating and becoming who you are and separating from family, and we can’t do that now as much as we used to.”

For many, our social lives look a lot different these days. There are more virtual visits with friends and family.

While it is important to stay connected, you should be aware of isolation or a sense of hopelessness when it comes to your kids.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, roughly 1 in 20 teenagers will experience an episode of depression making it one of the most common medical issues they’ll face.

It’s important to listen to your child’s language.

“Anytime you hear phrases like, ‘It just doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be here. What’s the point?’ Using any language with death are things to really pay attention to and really reach out ask ask the questions.”

“If you don’t and you ignore it, that’s not good. It’s better to air on the side of asking a question versus not.”

Colleen Owens is the Director of Psychotherapy at Penobscot Community Health Care.

She says we want to stay connected with our loved ones while still being able to enjoy the things we like to do.

“If you’re going to connect, connect by phone. Connect by FaceTime. Have conversations. Don’t just text. I think that’s the most important piece is to be able to see someone’s facial expressions so you’re not assuming a tone. You can actually hear it on the phone,” said Owens. “We value people, and we value certain activities. If we can still do them and stay connected to them in some way, it’s going to feel better.”

It’s also crucial to set boundaries within your home. Try to keep home, work, and school life separate.

“Keeping some sort of routine so you’re not waking up at 6am and going right on the computer to start work just because you can,” Owens explained.

During COVID times, it’s very easy for us to get caught up in the task of the day. That’s why experts say it’s very important that we take time for ourselves.

“If we’re able to do it and we’re showing our kids that we’re doing it, then they’ll be able to do it. Maybe then, they’ll be able to say, ‘hey, I’m struggling with this.’ Or, ‘I really need a hug from you mom or dad. I really need to talk to grandma. I really need something.,” said Owens.

If you are dealing with stress or isolation, there are services to help.

In October, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services launched StrengthenME.

That initiative offers tools, support, and community connections.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the strengthen me team at 221-8198, seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm.

If you are in crisis, you can call the Maine Crisis Hotline at 1-888-568-1112.

Copyright 2020 WABI. All rights reserved.

https://www.wabi.tv/2020/12/16/mental-health-expert-talks-depression-in-adolescents/

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