How To Talk — And Listen — To A Teen With Mental Health Struggles

NPR reports on the increasing mental health needs of teenagers. Not sleeping, failing classes, and expressing severe pain and turmoil — these are all what Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins, a psychiatrist and associate director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, calls a “loss of function.” They could be indicators of a serious mental health problem. There’s not much solid data on this, but some clinicians, like Dr. Booth Watkins and Elisa Nebolsine, a cognitive behavioral therapist in Falls Church, Va., say that the levels of distress, including suicidality, in their adolescent patients is among the highest they’ve seen in their careers. Nebolsine says that’s because the pandemic is making it hard for teenagers to meet basic developmental needs. “I mean, their brain is wired for new experiences, for new learning, for social connection, for romantic connection, for status and hierarchy and all these different developmental tasks that they are not getting access to.” #covid-19 #mentalhealth

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