Mental Health – Help for teenagers
So as a Hypnotherapist working with people’s mental health on a regular basis, I had a real choice of things to write about before I settled on this Mental Health – Help for teenagers title.
I’m not going to bombard you with stats about Mental Health in this post because you will know if your teenager (or you) needs help and support and that is the purpose of this post.
The reason I chose to blog about teenagers for World Mental Health Day
I love teenagers, I was one once lol. And I remember not liking it much and losing my way. I had wonderful parents but I didn’t go to them for help or talk to them about how I felt. It wasn’t their fault and it wasn’t my fault. It just was that way.
In my corporate life I mentored teenagers to get into the workplace and now I help teenagers to deal with life and their mental health 🙂
The biggest rise I have seen in my mental health client base over the past year have been teenage girls. I could say it’s because of the rise of social media; Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest (not sure the teenagers use that as much?) because there is a lot of research that suggests that social media is damaging for self-esteem. But fighting social media or helping a teenage girl become more comfortable in her own skin? I know which is the easier option.
So let’s look at how I help teenage girls really get more of a sense of themselves and have more confidence and resilience, so they can deal with life better and be happier.
Mental health issues that teenagers are facing:
- Body image
- Feeling sad
- Hiding from the world
- Being bullied
- Pressure of school
- Academic performance
- Lack of confidence
- Relationships with others
But most of all:
The relationship that they have with themselves
Now I’ve been helping adults on their relationships with themselves for a long time. At the route of most depression is not liking yourself. People live miserable lives for a very long time for 2 main reasons (in my opinion):
- They don’t understand themselves enough to know what their strengths are and to remember why they are amazing as their unique selves
- They have lived a life full of events and sometimes traumas and believe the stories in their head.
What I mean by a story is when things have happened in your life and they give you a particular belief. Let’s take a relationship breakup. You might think that you are not loveable and that is a story that starts to become true for you. When you meet a potential partner or love interest, you (in your head) are living and believing your own story that you are not loveable. This may leak into your body language and the way you communicate and affect this potential relationship. So that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; the relationship is not a success and that backs up your belief that you are not loveable.
The life of a teenager
A teenager has a childhood behind them but during their teenage years they are exploring and discovering life and themselves. So any little chink in their armour, comments, arguments, negative comments or implications (we all know that so much can be implied by just a look) all sink into them. We all pick up tiny subtle movements from each other because we are similar to animals in that way and communicate continuously through body language.
All the while, teenagers are receiving chinks in their armour. Reminds me of one of those soft crabs that needs time for its shell to harden so the birds can’t hurt it. They are finding their way and every chink in their armour hurts them and stops them being as tough as they need to be to face this world of ours. And we all know how tough life can be. Not always, but it has its moments.
All you want for your kid is for them to be able to handle it, be happy and for them to succeed at the things that are important to them. That’s all you want isn’t it.
And so when your kid comes to you (or maybe doesn’t) and tells you that they are not happy and life isn’t going well or maybe even that they hate themselves, that is really heart breaking 🙁
Help available for teenagers
Most teenagers that I see in my online therapy practice, have never been taught about positive thinking. Or techniques on how to protect and nurture their mental health. Many (and their parents) won’t like the term mental health, so I am very cautious of the language that I use with teenagers.
Some schools are becoming more aware of the need to educate their students on how to look after mental health and physical health. Things that today’s society are feeling the ill effects of. But schools have ciricculums to stick to and targets to meet, so the time and resources allocated to these matters are limited.
As parents we are often not proficient in the art of managing mental health ourselves. So many adults have stress, anxiety and depression themselves. They are just trying to scrape through life and doing the best they can for their children.
Many families have a working mum and dad and then there are single parent families and there are just so many demands on people’s time and energy. But more so, people just don’t have the skills and techniques to bring these teenagers through it and show them how things can be different.
And often the last person a teenager wants to hear from is their parents or teacher! So there is this huge gap to fill.
How I help teenagers
What I do with teenagers is to focus on the positives. Build them up strong. A teenager has plenty of time to understand their areas of development and flaws. The last thing they need to be brought tot their attention is to focus on their flaws. They need to be rebuilt and taught resilience.
So we focus on the positive and we do lots of positive work. We focus on how to change their state. State is the way we choose to feel at any given time. There is a great big range of emotion from sad to elated and everything inbetween and believe me, teenagers can feel those full range of emotions on what seems like an hourly basis.
The first thing that I teach teenagers are easy techniques so they can discretley manager their own state. From the first session they go out the door knowing that they have tools for life. and these tools are cool! Only 250 practitioners Worldwide are using these skills (separate blog post another day) and they are amazing. Teenagers love them.
I give them skills and tools for life to help them manage how they feel and get out of sticky emotional situations and shift those blue days where everything feels terrible.
I give them a maintenance plan to take with them, so they don’t have to worry about remembering things and it doesn’t feel like homework!
The next sessions I do work are what I call ‘work of the self’. Looking inside at what’s good about them and what’s important to them. And why they need to protect that to make them strong against the storms.
I use Hypnosis too which is perfectly safe on children age 5+. Hypnosis on a teenager is practically the same as an adult but you use language that appeals to a teenager. I use that to introduce a huge feeling of calm into their lives because they are usually so tense and anxious and worried and stressed with all that’s going on. They can just escape all that and float away to relax and find that calm place inside themselves. They can reconnect to that calm place whenever they need to with a recording that I give them.
Another skill for life. How to unwind your mind and take yourself away from the things that are bothering you and come back feeling relaxed and refreshed and ready to roll.
And what about mum and dad?
Supporting teenagers can be testing, tiring and thankless! So if you need help unwinding, keeping your cool or getting creative on strategies to cope. Make your appointment 🙂