This post suggests if you are dealing with a depressed teen, in addition to professional help, you find him some peers who have walked the road toward suicide.
Connecting to someone who knows the path you are walking gets you where you are going faster than wandering through the forest alone.
When it comes to combating depression, teens need a professional guide and a fellow traveler, meaning someone who survived teen depression. The Experience Project offers a number of inspiring depression survival stories.
PARENTING TIP about untrained sources of help
Tip one: I was fortunate enough to work with a great many youth advocates during my professional career. Read this article Youth Advocates: What They Do written by a team of youth advocates. It talks about Wrap Around Services – the best treatment option for depressed youth.
Tip two: As with all efforts to help another person, the quality of youth advocates varies – some are the best thing that happened to a depressed youth, others add to burdens. Good programs can have individual youth advocates that harm, and bad programs can have individual youth advocates who do more for the teen than the professional. How to tell the good from the bad is not so easy, but working with a competent professional who can check the teen’s progress helps. At the same time, the youth advocate can help check the professional’s competency.
Tip three: Some of the qualities to look for in a youth advocate include as the article pointed to above suggests: “… a willingness to learn, the ability to relate well to other youth from diverse backgrounds, the capacity to follow through and a willingness to share their own experiences with child-and family-serving systems.”
I would also look for an advocate who has moved beyond blaming parents and who supports competent mental health treatment. I worked with several who could not do so and disrupted treatment.
Tip four: More information for parents coping with a moody or depressed teen can be found in my book ‘When Good Kids Get Depressed‘, which is volume 11 of the When Good Kids Do Bad Things series. Volume 1 is free.
Parenting is hard work and contending with a child who is depressed demands more than good parenting. You need all the allies you can get. A caring and competent youth advocate is one of the most useful.
IF YOU LIKE THIS POST
I have published fourteen books on parenting. ‘When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers‘ is available in print and as an e-book. Shorter ebooks can also be downloaded on specific topics, like lying, crime, running away, clothing wars and many other topics. Or you can learn how to run a successful family meeting or help your child with test anxiety. Meanwhile, don’t forget to take care of yourself with ‘Parents Are People Too – An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents‘ or by reading my Emotional Fitness Training blog where you will find free posters, daily exercises and more.
Also, if you think this information will help another, please share it. Sharing knowledge is a caring act.
DISCLAIMER ONE: Although I am a therapist and base my advice on my clinical knowledge and experience, it does not substitute for face-to-face professional help.
DISCLAIMER TWO: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. Dysgraphia is a not well-known learning disability and means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere. If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.