Removing Obstacles to Help and Treatment

featuring

Steve & Deb Boczenowski
Founders of TADS
Madhavi Kamireddi, MD
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dan Simone, LMHC
Mental Health Counselor

Alice Lenhart, MA, MEd  
Mental Health Clinician
Steve Liljegren, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

This project was designed to provide parents with a basic understanding of mental wellness issues of teenagers, and to provide practical guidance for seeking mental health services for their children. The video consists of ten sections.

TADS recommends that organizers select the sections most pertinent to their community and limit the entire video presentation to 60 or 70 minutes.

In the descriptions of each section below, the times are included in minutes and seconds.

Intro with Steve & Deb – 11:00

Steve & Deb talk about their experiences with their son, Jeffrey, who died by suicide on December 1st, 2009.  Jeff was 21.

Knowledge and Education – 19:13

The lack of a practical awareness and knowledge about depression and anxiety are common obstacles to getting teens the help they need.  Depression can be seen as a change of mood or behavior.  Loss of interest in activities, change in sleep and appetite, loss of energy, increased isolation, and sadness or irritability which persists may be signs of depression.  Anxiety is manageable in small amounts.  However, in larger amounts it can show up as excessive worry, along with physical signs of stress and tension.  Anxiety is often caused by a combination of personality traits and external circumstances.  A parent who thinks “this is not my child” should trust her instincts and discuss the matter with someone who can help think things through.  Depression and anxiety can be treated.

How to Get Help  - 11:28

For many reasons seeking help for mental health needs can be particularly difficult.  Parents might feel very alone with their worries and uncomfortable asking others for advice on getting help.  The mental health field can also be intimidating and confusing.  Disclosing personal and family challenges to someone else can be intimidating.
Some practical advice …

  • If you are worried, don’t wait.
    Ask someone for names of clinicians.  Don’t get a name out of a book.
  • Check to see that the names are covered by your insurance.
  • Call all names right away.  It can take a while to get an appointment.
  • Look for the right “fit.”

Speaking with Your Child’s Clinician – 10:37

Once their child is involved in treatment, many parents are unclear what their role is in that treatment.  It is common for parents to feel excluded, or to worry that their contributions & observations will be unwelcome or even harmful to the treatment.  This is particularly complicated when their “child” is an adult.  Most clinicians welcome positive, constructive parental involvement.  While privacy is a very important part of treatment, in most cases parents can still have a vital role in supporting treatment.

Communication with your Kid – 12:30

When people go through difficult times they often pull away from others.  Sometimes they push their loved ones away.  Parents can feel confused and unprepared to talk with their kids.  The key to communication is listening.  If they feel heard, the rest will follow.  Asking them questions about their feelings, even about thoughts of hurting themselves, won’t “plant” ideas in their head.  It may give them a way to start talking about some really hard things.   Come from a place of love.  Be aware of the things you really like about them.

Understanding Treatment – 9:23

Many people don’t understand how depression and anxiety are treated.  This can cause people to be reluctant to seek effective help.
Everyone is unique, so the precise treatment for each person will be different.  There are interventions which are often a part of a treatment plan.  Medication can play an effective role in treatment.  Counseling is helpful in identifying and change patterns of thinking and behaving which can cause and/or contribute to depression and anxiety.
Improving important parts of our daily lives, such as eating, sleeping, exercising, etc.

Self-Destructive Coping – 13:52

When feelings of anxiety and depression become too much too handle, young people may turn to dangerous and unhealthy ways of coping.  These can include abusing alcohol and drugs, as well as physically hurting themselves.  Self-destructive ways of coping, such as self-injury and substance abuse, present many real dangers.  Unfortunately, these unhealthy ways of coping may offer immediate relief from overwhelming feelings.  This causes young people to come to rely on them, rather than learning healthier ways of coping.  Substance abuse can actually delay the effectiveness of medication, and prolong the depression.

Starting or Continuing Treatment – 7:19

Starting counseling can be hard.
Finding the right counselor and worries about what counseling will be like can contribute to resistance.  Even with the right counselor, solutions can be hard work.  It can be tempting to stop when it feels uncomfortable.  When feeling anxious or depressed, don’t just “tough it out.”  Seeking help when it’s needed is a brave and wise thing to do.  Find the right person to work with and build on that initial feeling of “fit” to develop a good therapeutic relationship.
Counseling is tough.  But it’s worth sticking it out!

Closing Remarks – 2:20

The mental health providers describe how they hope viewers will benefit from watching this video.

This video was produced by

Teenage Anxiety & Depression Solutions (TADS)
and
Nashoba Valley Technical High School.

Acknowledgements

Directed by
Eric Stevenson
Instructor, NVTHS

Creative Director
Dr. Steve Liljegren