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These are REAL questions asked by REAL parents.  If you have a question-- send it in! I will answer to the best of my ability.  Remember: I am only an expert on my own experiences.  Your teen is an individual with specific circumstances to be considered.

However, I hope these questions may provide a helpful perspective to begin with.  


" What positive or helpful things  did/ could your friends do to help you?"

My friends asked me how I was and they listened to the answer.  They made sure I knew that I could trust them and made themselves available.  They didn't pretend to have answers and they did not ignore it.  They never once accused me of making everything up. 

"What was the role of social media in your depression?"

"What was the role of social media in your depression?"

While social media is NOT at fault, it definitely contributes to self esteem struggles.  This generation of youth is very caught up in social media and cyber bullying does happen.  Social media changes the view of "friendship" and can make it hard to understand what a friend truly is. 

"What is the role of a younger/older sibling in the family of a depressed teen?"

Siblings can contribute both in good ways, and bad.  A younger sibling can easily accidentally step on a trigger.  An older sibling can create pressure.  Allow disclosure to siblings at your discretion so that they are not entirely in the dark and can understand the situation. 

"How did your parents help you?  How can we fix it." 

"How did your parents help you?  How can we fix it?" 

The hard reality to a parent is that you cannot "fix it." You can however, help. Take your child seriously, welcome the conversation. Understand that there are hard days as well as good days and they may follow one another and they may not. Validate the emotions of your child, and know that it's not always easy to know where an emotion originated from. Learn the triggers of your teen.  

"Would you have been willing to open up to an Aunt?  Would you have wanted a 'Safe Place' to come and talk?"

Yes. Relationship is/was so important to me.  I suggest opening UP the conversation so that the teenager feels like they are welcome to talk about what is on their mind without feeling ashamed. Make sure the teen won't feel like they are somehow burdening you in asking for help. Try not to be "too busy" too often. 

"Did you open up to your pediatrician?  Do you need a strong relationship in order to ask for help? Do screenings do anything?"

I did open up to my doctor because I was terrified of myself. This is not common though- if the teenager doesn't want anyone to know about their true feelings: then probably they wont reach out without a VERY close relationship. Screenings are not hard to lie on.   

"What do you say to teenagers who are just starting to be depressed?"

Reassure them. Make sure they know that you will be there for them no matter how bad things get. Give them skills and know that there might not be a simple way out.

"Does bullying play a role in depression?"

Sometimes. Not everyone is bullied, however those who are bullied -- are hurt in many ways. Self esteem plays a major role in depression, and bullying/ abuse, lowers self esteem.

What is a trigger?

A trigger depends on the person. A trigger is associated with a painful memory. The memory is associated with an object, time, date, song, sound -- it can be anything. try to learn the triggers of your child and also explore ways that your child triggers you.

"How do you communicate with your teen when they are depressed?"

The person struggling with depression may say hurtful things when you try to reach out.  They will probably withdraw:  DO NOT stop persuing them.

"Do medications work?"

There is no magical pill that fixes everything, there are still hard days. However, it does help take the edge off. Medication is not for everyone but an open mind will be helpful in exploring options.

"What strategy/ coping skills did you develop in the midst of your depression to overcome?"

I started journaling, sought out mentors, looked for my passions and found a way to use them. I started to read affirmations to myself in the mirror every night, and I stopped lying. One of my first coping skills was leaning on the understanding of a few trusted adult(s).

"I am depressed, what do I do about my children?"

Fill them in.  Don't keep them in the dark entirely, otherwise when they catch on (and they will), there will be a barrier between you. Keep that from happening by being open and honest. It doesn't have to be every detail:  basic information at a level they understand will suffice.  

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