July is Mental Health Awareness Month and parents are encouraged to keep their children’s mental health in check.
The teen years can be particularly hard to navigate. Throw in the stress Covid-19 has unleashed, and your teen may be feeling even more overwhelmed. Sometimes professional help might be needed to help parents and their kids through some major changes.
Puberty and the need for assertion see major behavioural changes in many teens. The lack of appropriate tools to navigate this stage could lead a teen down the wrong life path.
Signs and symptoms of teen depression
At its extremes, teen blues can lead to behaviours such as:
- School performance dropping
- Talking back and not abiding by the parent’s rules
- Oversleeping and binge drinking
- More time in detention due to breaking school rules
- Drug abuse
- Moodiness leading to violence
- Isolation from family and friends
According to clinical psychologist Benedict Mhlongo, “teens are susceptible to toxic behaviour as a form assertion”. Many parents try to understand their teens to better support them. These attempts may fail, and some seek out support from professionals. Substance abuse and suicide prevent are big themes when it comes to parenting a teen, and when parents see red flags, support is required.
How to find free support
Mental health services don’t come cheap for the average South African without medical aid. Even the ones on affordable plans consider the usage of their medical savings and seeing a psychologist might compromise that. There is, however, free counselling that parents and teens can access through some non-governmental organisations. These organisations are dedicating their efforts to make mental health services accessible to everyone.
Does your teen need help?
If your teen needs help, turn to The South African Depression And Anxiety Group (SADAG). With counsellors available 24 hours, The South African Depression And Anxiety Group (SADAG) is a trusted organisation in SA when it comes to mental health awareness and support. Their website offers comprehensive resources to help parents and teens navigate some of the challenges they encounter. They also host several online conversations to support people with issues related to mental health.
To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday, call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182. For a suicidal Emergency contact SADAG on 0800 567 567 / 24hr Helpline 0800 456 789.
10 other important emergency lines
- Dr Reddy’s Help Line: 0800 21 22 23
- Cipla 24hr Mental Health Helpline: 0800 456 789
- Pharmadynamics Police &Trauma Line: 0800 20 50 26
- Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline: 0800 70 80 90
- ADHD Helpline: 0800 55 44 33
- Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24hr helpline: 0800 12 13 14 / SMS 32312
- Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567
- SADAG Mental Health Line: 011 234 4837
- Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit 24 Hour: 0861 435 787
- Cipla Whatsapp Chat Line: (9am-4pm, 7 days a week) 076 882 2775