Talking to teenagers about depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide is a difficult but important task. It’s important to make sure they receive clear and accurate information in an aligned way. Here are some tips for doing so:
1) Talk openly – when talking with teens about these topics, it’s important to be open and honest. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about their feelings and thoughts on the matter, as well as ask questions or seek help if needed.
2) Be aware of your language – using language that isn’t judgemental or condemning can go a long way. Make sure you don’t stigmatize mental health issues or those who suffer from them by using language like ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’.
3) Be prepared to listen – allow the teen to express their thoughts and feelings on the matter without interruption or judgement. Listen actively and be aware of any trigger words that may cause distress for them.
4) Offer resources – if the teen expresses a need for help, have some resources available such as contact information for mental health professionals or support hotlines. It can also be helpful to show them online resources related to mental health issues in order to further educate themselves.
5) Respect their opinion – while it’s important to provide accurate information about depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide, it is equally important to respect whatever opinion that the teen may have. Respect their autonomy and allow them to make their own decisions about what treatment options are best for them.
6) Follow up – follow-up with the teen after the conversation to see how they’re doing and if they need any additional help or resources. Let them know you care and that you’ll be available no matter what happens. This can help build trust between both yourself and the teen, which is an essential part of helping young people struggling with mental health issues succeed with their ideas.