Passage through the teen years is, in itself, a significant milestone. The amount of change experienced during adolescence, as child becomes adult, is transformative. And it is the responsibility of a community’s elders (a/k/a adults) to serve as guides (a/k/a ‘Askable Adults’) along the way.
Like teens of every time and place, our youth are discovering who they are apart from their immediate family, as well as how and where they fit into the larger world. But they are faced with this task at a time of tremendous social turmoil, when our few remaining rites of passage have been significantly disrupted, and the consistent availability of reliable guides (for many) is severely strained by a public health crisis. Oh, and let’s not forget the intense pressure for perfection, whether communicated through academic demands, extracurricular pursuits or social media posts.
Under these circumstances, increased levels of anxiety and depression might be considered more normal than not. The good news? We all have access to a growing number of tools and resources – both for teens and the ‘Askable Adults’ in their lives – to help us all learn how to recognize, respond to and reduce anxiety and depression in our lives. Sudden behavior changes or any of these things lasting two weeks or longer: extreme irritability, lost interest in activities, inability to concentrate or excessive worry about the future – are just some signals that might be related to anxiety or depression.
Pay attention, listen to your teen’s concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from a school social worker or medical provider. Check out this link if you would like to learn more on the topic: answers.childrenshospital.org/teens-anxiety-depression/ If you want the teens in your life to develop skills for mental health and wellbeing, ask about an Aevidum Club in your teen’s school. aevidum.com/cms/
by Nadine J. Smet-Weiss, Community Liaison; translated by Johnathan Rodríguez-Báez, Bilingual Community Educator