While parenting children at any age has it’s difficult times, parenting teenagers comes with its own set of challenges. Between changing hormones and stress from school and friends, teenage mood swings are not uncommon. It is healthy for teens to experience a full range of emotions, but if your child is struggling with symptoms such as loss of interest in things that previously sparked joy, social isolation, or poor school performance, they could be struggling with mental health challenges such as depression.
Puberty and Mental Health
It is estimated that 2% of children under age 10 experience depression, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, between the ages of 10 and 14, the average age range of puberty onset, depression rates increase from 5% to 8% for children overall. According to Mental Health America: “Rapid growth in the brain’s gray matter before puberty is met by a strengthening of pathways that are used most often and a weakening of those that are not used often as the brain refines itself through pruning.”. Abnormal pruning of the brain, which may be worsened by sleep disruptions and increased stress, may be connected to the onset of mental health issues such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use, and depression.
Puberty is a time when many mental health disorders become more apparent or when teens begin showing symptoms of mental health disorders. With so many transitions and new stressors, puberty to early adulthood is an especially vulnerable time for teens’ mental health. There are many reasons why teens may experience depression. Some factors include: a family history of depression, traumatic events during childhood, such as physical or emotional abuse, or loss of a parent, learned patterns of negative thinking, and changes in the balance of hormones.
If your teen is exhibiting signs and symptoms of depression during puberty a mental health professional or a wilderness therapy program can help. Symptoms of depression do not go away on their own, and seeking treatment is the first step towards positive mental health.
BlueFire Wilderness Can Help
The power of blueFire’s wilderness program lies in immersing clients in the wilderness setting to interrupt the pattern of negative behaviors, inspire a true desire for a lifestyle change and identify a complete plan for long-term success. All skills and activities taught at blueFire wilderness program promote transferable skills, whether the confidence and self-awareness gained as one tries new activities or the acute awareness gained from setting and achieving goals.
Onsite neuropsychological testing allows for our Embers Group (boys aged 11-15) to experience working one on one with experts who can help them understand and process the anxiety, social issues, or academic issues that may have brought them to blueFire. Due to our experts’ vast knowledge and experience, the clients at blueFire have gained invaluable skill sets that provide reliable confidence upon returning home. For more information please call (208) 598-8652.