Kids and Teen Issues
Children of all ages and stages of life can be stressed and the symptoms that they are struggling with may be different from adults. Parents may want their children and teens to have carefree lives, but that's not always the case. WHA can help with resources from Optum Behavioral Health when your dependents are covered on your plan*.
There are so many situations and challenges with today's youth. An estimated 2.5M youths in the U.S. have depression and recently, those numbers have increased.
Signs and symptoms
Perhaps they have outbursts of anger and temper tantrums or are particularly irritable with more mood changes. Or, maybe as a parent or caregiver, you see a lack of motivation or energy around activities they used to enjoy.
Whether it is anxiety, depression, substance use, or eating disorders, there are programs that can help. As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else.
Explore the resources and videos at Optum's Live and Work Well portal for the next step to getting support. To get started visit Optum's Kids & Teens webpage where you'll find resources, articles, videos, and more.
In communicating with your child/teen
Some tips if they seem stressed from Optum Behavioral Health:
- Acknowledge their thoughts, feelings and reactions - let them know you think their perspective is important.
- Help them find words to talk about their stress - use language that they can relate to.
- Let them know they are not alone - reassure them you are there to help without judgment or blame.
- Help them live healthy lives with physical activity, sleep and good nutrition (healthy body=healthy mind).
- Find healthy ways to relax. Some it is playing sports or music; others spending time in nature or art. Ask your child or teen what makes them feel relaxed. Consider exploring as a family. Have each person make their own “relaxation list” and share it with each other. You may want to create opportunities to embrace downtime together, whether you are doing the same or different activities.
- Help them connect to people who are good for them. Young people value their peers, so it’s important that they have connections to others who are leading healthy lives. Unfortunately, sometimes their peers are the cause of their stress, such as with bullying and social media pressures. Keep the line of communication open and ensure they know you are their ally, not their enemy. Share with them what you notice about the impact of their peers or social media activity. See if they are open to talking through it with you.
- Prepare for things that may cause stress. Each child may have their own unique stressors. It can be helpful to write them down when a young person is NOT stressed. That way you can plan together ways you would cope if/when the stressor comes.
Remember, if your child or teen is struggling, consider talking to a professional today. Trained mental health counselors can help you and your child take the next steps together. Call Optum today!
*Check your health plan documents for details on behavioral/mental health benefits for yourself and your family. If you have any questions, call WHA Member Services.