Mental Health Advocacy for Young Kids and Teens
Thomas, a 16-year-old high schooler, joins John on this episode of The Mind Itself to discuss some of the mental health challenges that he has experienced from a young age. Still currently taking medication and going to therapy, Thomas struggles with depression. From the beginning, it was hard for him to share his emotions and he didn’t know how to put them into words or explain how he was feeling.
Hesitation in Sharing
When Thomas first started feeling this deep sadness, it started to make him feel unmotivated. It made him feel disconnected, and it was hard to form deeper relationships. In the age of social media, there was always a worry about how people would perceive him when he opened up about the feelings that he was having.
When he thought about talking to his parents, there was difficulty in working up the courage to admit how he was feeling to his parents, but also himself. It was hard to put into words how he felt because he wasn’t sure what was going on in his head.
Driving Force Behind Getting Help
Thomas eventually started talking to his parents about his problems and how he was feeling, which then lead to him going to therapy. At first, he didn’t want to go. Thomas found it hard to talk to people, so therapy wasn’t the easiest thing to do when he was younger.
Thomas had the mindset that therapy meant that you were broken – that you needed to be fixed. Throughout the years, however, he formed a good relationship with a therapist and realized that it’s a tool and resource to live a better life. He wants to participate in therapy for as long as he can because he realizes how helpful it is for his growth.
Therapy & Support Systems
Therapy has always made a difference at any point in a person’s life, it’s just sometimes hard to motivate them to go. This is especially true when someone is a younger teen, therapy is a very hard thing to convince people to participate in.
Luckily for Thomas, his family is very supportive and a foundation for him. Although at first, he was resistant to therapy, his family always gave him the tools that he needed to get the help. He now advocates for therapy and other treatment methods, like medication when needed.
Along with therapy, being open about his mental health, and talking to his friends and family about his journey, Thomas realized that he wasn’t alone. People are going through some of the same things as him, and when he connected with those people who were feeling the same way he did, it comforted him and helped him.
Covid Affecting Mental Health
With the pandemic happening in the past year, Thomas found himself mentally struggling. It was hard not seeing people like he normally would at school, and he saw that this was draining him. It took a toll on his mental health.
The world is a very different place now than it was, and almost everyone’s mental health has been affected by what’s going on in the world. However, Thomas has been trying to find things that make him happy. talks to friends on video games, and often bikes around outside to get out of the house.