Coping Skills for Depression

Coping Skills, Depression | 0 comments

Depression negatively impacts mental health in adolescents, which can lead to a decline in academic performance, withdrawal from social settings, and struggles with motivation in daily life. This mental health diagnosis is a serious concern, especially for concerned parents of young people, as it is often hard to spot the symptoms of depression in teens. In 2019, 33.8% of Massachusetts high school students struggled with feelings of depression. As part of the healing journey for teens struggling with depression, treatment programs help youth develop coping skills to practice throughout daily life. These coping skills help adolescents address their feelings in order to manage them and prevent them from taking over their wellbeing. 

What Are Coping Skills?

Coping skills are strategies that teens learn when undergoing treatment for depression. The goal of coping skills is to reduce the negative emotions associated with mental illnesses as someone goes about their daily life. Since teenage years are crucial developmental years in one’s life, coping skills can be an essential for a teen’s mental and emotional well-being. 

Practicing coping skills helps teens suffering from depression manage their symptoms through important academic challenges and social settings. For example, some teens suffering from depression may find it hard to maintain the motivation to attend school social events, such as school dances or sports games. Coping skills help teens relieve or manage overwhelming negative emotions that hinder them from wanting to socialize with others. These feelings could cause teens to be irritable or even fatigued because of underlying depression. Coping skills are used to relax and energize teens, even helping manage limits of what a teen feels capable of doing. 

How to Develop Coping Skills for Depression

Not every teen suffering from depression benefits from the same coping skills. When a teen seeks treatment for depression, a mental health professional will work with them to understand and recognize their depression first before finding the right coping skills to suit their needs and lifestyle. These coping mechanisms are used to help teens manage their negative emotions, which requires an understanding of when those emotions might be triggered. 

There are numerous coping skills that a mental health professional can teach to someone suffering from depression. Each one is designed with a focus on self care and benefitting a teen’s overall well being. Some coping skills require teens to follow specific activities or follow a manageable schedule. 

Self-Care Activities

Feelings of depression may prevent teens from wanting to follow a structured routine. However, routines are used to create consistent positive improvement in a person, which can actually help reduce negative emotions over time. When someone is depressed, things like bathing, brushing teeth, or exercising can be hard to do consistently. Self-care activities don’t have to be complicated. They just have to be consistent. Something as simple as taking regular showers can help teens reset their mood. 

Talk to a Mental Health Professional Regularly 

The best thing about seeking help from a mental health treatment program is having a robust schedule of group and individual therapy in which teens can access mental health professionals. Such programs help to hold teens accountable for talking with a therapist or other mental health professionals regularly. While expressing emotion to a support network of family and friends is a huge help, a mental health professional helps take healing a step further through a greater understanding of someone’s underlying mental illness. 

Treatment programs create a space for teens struggling with depression to express themselves. This prevents them from isolating themselves from others, relieving emotions that may otherwise be repressed. 

Get Physically Active 

Physical activity is great for naturally improving one’s mood. Exercise causes a chemical reaction in which your brain releases endorphins and serotonin, which are a natural booster for the mood. For teens suffering from depression, finding a physical activity can be a great way to relieve unhappy feelings. There are plenty of physical activities, especially in someone’s teenage years, to join on a regular basis. Joining a high school sports team or a recreational sports club can be a great way to put physical activity on your schedule consistently. 

Practice Mindfulness 

Not every part of the day can be spent in an activity or talking with a mental health professional. When negative emotions arise, teens suffering from depression may search for something that can immediately provide relief. Practicing mindfulness is something that those suffering from depression can use any time of the day, no matter where they are. Mindfulness, like a meditation practice, helps to calm the mind and reduce worrying thoughts that may become overwhelming. As a best practice, don’t wait until the negative emotions arrive to practice mindfulness. It is best practiced regularly throughout each day, whether in the morning while having a coffee or in the evening before bed, to manage emotions before they become too much to handle. 

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