Disclaimer: This is a difficult read, but one that every parent/guardian should be aware of.
Depression in teenagers is more common than you may know, in fact it affects one in five kids before they hit adulthood. As per a September 2019 study, as many as 40,000 students have committed suicide in the last five years, in India alone. One in four teenagers suffer from depression. While these numbers continue to rise, most of us still see depression as trivial and blame it on a teenager’s attention-seeking syndrome or attribute it to their age.
One of the major causes of a teenager’s depression is their constant worry about appearance…how their friends and opposite sex will judge them. India, being a feeding country, all throughout our childhood we are fed sweets, sugary treats, bribed with chocolate or candy when we do well in class etc. And when suddenly puberty hits, all these factors tend to show up in terms of weight and fat which leads to a major loss in confidence.
We at Fitbee have decided to address this issue, and help your child fight through it via fitness. We have specially curated programs for kids and teens that will address this very issue through exercise, nutrition support and tasty recipes. A workout regime isn’t certainly a cure-all for depression. But sweating it out produces endorphins, a chemical reaction that enhances your sense of well-being. It also helps to keep your child’s mind off worries and the vicious cycle of thoughts, including anxiety. Once a child starts meeting their exercise challenges, however small, their confidence will only get better. Once a teenager starts making workout an everyday affair, it shows directly on their body and makes them feel better about their appearance.
WHO recommends as little as 30 to 60 minutes a day of rigorous activity, which shows significant signs of improvement over depression and anxiety. Some exercises that will help your kid fight depression are running, cycling, boxing, yoga, kung fu, playing a sport they like, playing around in the park etc. All of these activities will not only help those endorphins flowing, it will also help them sleep better.
Here are a few more reasons that may lead to depression in teenagers: the pressure of being accepted, of being judged, loneliness – not having someone to speak their mind, and a sense of disconnection from reality may drive someone towards dejection. Other major contributors towards breakdown of mental health is a lack of purpose in their life, pressure from parents for approval, cut-throat competition right from academics to co-curricular activities.
How does one deal with these situations? Identify the situation, keep an open mind and speak with the child, give assurance that you are always there for them, and most importantly seek professional help.
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