- Does your teen often complain of headaches or stomachaches, with no medical reason
- Is he/she cranky or angry for no clear reason
- Is he/she afraid of making even minor mistakes or have extreme test anxiety
- Does he/she doub her skills and abilities, even when there’s no reason to or have trouble handling constructive criticism
- Maybe he/she avoids social situations with peers after school or on weekends (extracurricular activities, dates, school dances, etc.)
- Does he engage in excessive hand washing, arranging, tapping or other compulsive behaviors?
Anxiety in teenagers takes so many forms! According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 31.9% of teens 13-19 struggled with a diagnosable anxiety disorder over this last year. Anxiety and depression are treatable, but 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report. Your child is not alone! That is a lot of teens who are struggling and not yet getting help!
As a parent of a teen who struggles with anxiety, it can be extra tricky because your child is now a teenager and there are already so many changes. Their bodies are changing and they are wanting more independence. They may not be as open with you as they used to be, but you see them struggling. It is difficult to know how to help them and it is hard to see them struggle! The landscape is definitely messy!
How counseling can help
This is where counseling can be so helpful. Your teen can develop a relationship with a therapist who specializes in working with teens who struggle with anxiety. He can get tools he needs to address his symptoms and may even be able to alleviate them. He will have a safe place to work through his concerns let go of his worry. Through counseling your child can gain confidence and be in a better place to reach his potential. At MVP we have therapists who are trained in the forms of therapy that can most help those with anxiety (including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, and neurofeedback) and specialize and love working with teens.
Not sure about counseling?
There are several reasons you may feel that bringing your child to counseling may be difficult, including:
Your teen may not want to come… We hear this a lot! It is scary to think about going to a stranger’s office and talking with them about everything you feel most vulnerable about in this world! What we encourage is to ask your teen if they are willing to try it out for a few sessions and then re-evaluate. Let them know that you want to help them, but may not have the tools. Just like you take them to the doctor when they have a fever, taking them to a counselor when they have anxiety just makes sense. They will get the tools to address the problem. Honestly, even when teens are initially hesitant to come to counseling, the great majority of the them quickly change their minds! They value a space where they can say anything and get the help they need to feel better.
Scheduling is hard….Yes it is! Teenagers have homework and often have other extra-curricular activities they participate in. Counseling can feel like one more thing to add to their (and your) plate. At MVP our counselors all hold daytime and evening hours to try to meet this need.
Counseling costs money….To get the help your child needs, whether from a doctor or tutor there is a cost. Yet MVP we do everything we can to make it accessible. We take Flex Spending and HSA. We also offer a sliding scale based on income for those with financial need. Please talk with us if money is a concern.
Take the next step
If you think your son or daughter has anxiety, please call us at 720-583-933. You can make an appointment or you can have a 20-minute free phone consultation. We are here to help you!