Understanding Mental Health Professionals: A very brief guide for parents

Teen depression is a significant mental health concern that manifests as persistent feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in various activities. It profoundly influences your teenager’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, leading to emotional, functional, and physical challenges. While depression can occur at any stage of life, the symptoms may differ between teens and adults. 

Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations, and the changes in their bodies can contribute to the ups and downs teens experience. For some, these lows extend beyond typical teenage feelings and become symptomatic of depression. 

It’s crucial to recognise that teen depression is not a sign of weakness and cannot be overcome through willpower alone. It necessitates professional help, in more severe cases it may involve a combination of medication and therapy. Effective treatment can significantly alleviate symptoms for most teens.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Depression: 

Emotional Changes: 

  • Feelings of sadness, including unexplained crying spells 
  • Frustration or anger, even over trivial matters 
  • Hopelessness or emptiness 
  • Irritable or annoyed mood 
  • Loss of interest in usual activities 
  • Conflict with family and friends 
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt 
  • Fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame 
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection and the need for excessive reassurance 
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things 
  • Ongoing sense of grimness about life and the future 
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying, or suicide 

Behavioural Changes: 

  • Tiredness and loss of energy 
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping 
  • Changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or gain 
  • Use of alcohol or drugs 
  • Agitation or restlessness 
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements 
  • Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches 
  • Social isolation 
  • Poor school performance or frequent absences 
  • Neglect of personal hygiene or appearance 
  • Angry outbursts, disruptive behaviour, or self-harm 

 

When to Seek Help: 

If depression signs and symptoms persist, interfere with your teen’s life, or raise concerns about their safety or suicidal thoughts, it’s crucial to consult a mental health professional. Depression symptoms rarely improve on their own and may worsen or lead to other issues if left untreated. 

 For teenagers, experiencing depression or those concerned about a friend, seeking help promptly is essential. Talk to a health care provider, a parent, a trusted friend, a teacher, or someone else you trust. 

 

Causes and Risk Factors: 

While the exact cause of depression is not known, various factors may contribute, including: 

  • Brain chemistry 
  • Hormonal changes 
  • Inherited traits 
  • Early childhood trauma 
  • Learned patterns of negative thinking 

 

Complications and Prevention: 

Untreated depression can result in emotional, behavioural, and health problems. Complications may include alcohol and drug misuse, academic issues, family conflicts, and, in severe cases, suicide attempts. 

 While there is no surefire way to prevent depression, encouraging your teenager to manage stress, practice self-care, seek social support, and promptly get treatment at the first sign of a problem can help prevent the worsening of symptoms. 

 Remember, your involvement and support are crucial in navigating your teenager through this challenging time. If you suspect depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance for appropriate intervention and support. If you believe your child may need professional help, request a callback to speak with one of our professionals about your situation and the best course of action. 

For more information about the difference between these professionals, or to discuss your childs difficulties, request a callback for a complimentary conversation with one of our professionals.

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SOME OF OUR TEAM

An Occupational Therapist and Phd researcher, Joy has worked in paediatric disability settings, as well as community crisis intervention and inpatient mental health teams.

As a Counsellor and Psychotherapist, with a master’s degree in CBT, Melissa specialises in offering tailored mental health services to meet each client’s unique needs;  fostering a comprehensive and personalised therapeutic experience.

Managing Director of PrimaHealth, with a master’s degree in Applied Psychology from UCC, Danny is one of the team which liaises with parents to offer them empathetic support and guidance; finding the right mental health professional for their child’s particular needs.

Kelly Ann employs evidence-based techniques like CBT and mindfulness in her counselling to address adolescent issues such as anxiety and stress, emphasising strong therapeutic relationships and collaboration with parents for growth and emotional well-being.

Passionate about providing empathetic support, Breda, a psychotherapist with extensive experience, offers evidence-based techniques like CBT, DBT, REBT, and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to help navigate her clients through stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges they may face.

With over twenty years of therapeutic experience with young people and families, Rosaleen specialises in adolescent psychotherapy, holding qualifications including a BA in Applied Social Studies, a Certificate in Addiction Studies and a Diploma in Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Adolescent Psychotherapy.

Having had years of experience working in Child and Adolescent community mental health teams and inpatient settings as an Occupational Therapist, Fidelma has developed a clinical expertise in using therapeutic approaches to support young adults manage and overcome their difficulties. 

Marianne, an Occupational Therapist, specialises in pediatric and adolescent mental health, providing compassionate therapy focused on fostering self-compassion and safeness. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise, enhanced by her continuous pursuit of alternative therapy courses and passion for wellness.