Depression is a serious mental illness, and it is a condition that appears to be affecting increasing numbers of teens. Statistics show that teenage depression is on the rise, and 13 percent of teenagers report at least one depressive incident in the past year. That’s a serious problem, especially in the context of increased rates of mental health in general, including higher rates of anxiety among teens and adults alike.
Teens and parents need to be more mindful of mental health than ever. That means taking proactive steps to improve mental health, mental health symptoms, and mental health outcomes.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
When it comes to teens, taking care of mental health is just as important as taking care of physical health. And the similarities don’t end there. In many cases, the same things need to be done in order to care for both of these aspects of overall health.
Eating well is, of course, one of these things. A balanced and nutritious diet that emphasizes whole foods and limits the intake of processed foods can help teens achieve or maintain a healthy weight and fuel their bodies’ essential functions. And, studies show, a balanced diet can go a long way toward limiting the symptoms and setbacks that are associated with depression and anxiety. Eating well can make teens feel better not just in body, but in mind as well. A plant-based whole foods diet will accomplish the benefits that research into nutritional psychology has promised.
Exercise, too, is a tool that improves both mental and physical health. Exercise can keep teens physically healthy by making muscles (including the heart) stronger and burning fat. That can help mental health indirectly in the form of a healthier body and all of the mental health benefits that come with being feeling good physically. And exercise can also help mental health directly: Working up a sweat can release endorphins that elevate moods.
Getting outside can be healthy, too. Getting a little sun will help a teen’s body metabolize Vitamin D, which improves mood. And being outside can also mean other healthy things, from exercise to socializing, points out a swimming pool contractor in Hamilton, NJ: If a teen gets out a swims with friends outside for a while, that adds up to a lot of healthy things happening at once.
Working With Professionals
Keeping bodies healthy means two things: Making smart everyday decisions (about exercise, healthy eating, and so on) and working with healthcare professionals (like primary care physicians, specialists, and, if necessary, emergency medical personnel). For mental health, the formula is the same. Just as is the case with physical health, teens should be getting support from healthcare professionals in order to take better care of their minds. That includes maintaining healthy minds as well as addressing mental health issues.
Preventative care is key, but it’s also true that the benefits of proper mental healthcare are particularly obvious in cases of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, explain the experts at Polaris teen residential treatment center. Regular therapy sessions can be massively helpful for teens (especially those with depression and other mental health conditions). Inpatient treatments and medication are options, too.
Teens and parents should work with specialists who tailor treatment programs to the specific needs of the teen and the specific conditions in question, which can include depression, anxiety, addiction, attention disorders, and more. Depression does not always act alone—in fact, it is quite commonly associated with other conditions.
With the help of professionals who specialize in mental healthcare, teens can fight back against depression. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, proper treatment can go a long way toward lessening symptoms and allowing teens to get more joy out of their teenage years.