Victoria Metal is a music teacher from North Carolina. At 25, she’s one of the youngest guests on Teenage Kicks, and much closer in age to my teenagers than she is to me. She talks about something I think is common to lots of teenagers, and adults, Depression.
Teenage depression and anxiety facts
Depression and anxiety among teens is common, with nearly a third presenting with symptoms of an anxiety disorder by the age of 18, with anxiety in teenage girls more than twice as common as it is in boys. Teenage years are some of the most stressful times of our lives, with the burden of needing to succeed academically, and social pressures adding to the intense experience of physical development and puberty.
What causes anxiety in teens?
Victoria describes what kickstarted her anxiety – school pressures, friendship issues and overwhelm. Just normal stuff, that so many families will relate to. As a young girl she spent hours on the floor of her bedroom listening to music, just to escape from her emotions. She also tells me about how she tried to ask for help, but didn’t manage to get the support she needed in time to prevent what happened later.
Why teenage mental health needs to be taken seriously
I was struck by how well Victoria coped as a teenager. Talking to her reminded me that being 18 doesn’t make you an adult, and that young people still need emotional support as they begin adult life.
Panic attacks and anxiety
Victoria did eventually get the support she needed, but not before suffering panic attacks at work, and eventually going back to the beginning, and working out the roots of her anxiety with her mother.
Whilst panic attacks in teens aren’t usual, Victoria’s story serves as a warning that teen mental health is as important to take care of as physical health to ensure symptoms don’t worsen further down the line.
Once you’ve finished listening, I’d urge you to go and download this episode of Victoria’s own podcast, The Intention Seekers. In it she reads through her graduation speech, which gave me goosebumps. “You are going to be missed” she told her class, and this is the sentiment she’d offer to those going through the anxiety and self-doubt that many teenagers experience:
You are loved.
What can parents do?
For parents, this conversation with Victoria made me realise how difficult it is to identify and express your feelings at this age, and that actually, asking for help might cost them a LOT! Have a listen to how she first expressed her panic at the state of her emotional health at the age of 12 – it’s a little bit heartbreaking.
Find Victoria here
The Intention Seekers podcast Instagram
Further reading and support
Why depression is on the rise in teenagersA parent’s guide to teenage depressionNHS signposts for depression in children
More teenage parenting tips:
There are lots more episodes of the Teenage Kicks podcast. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve also got some posts on the blog that might help parents with other teenage parenting dilemmas, so do pop over to Actually Mummy if you fancy a read.
Thank you so much for listening! Subscribe now to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear all my new episodes. I'll be talking to some fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers - including losing a parent, becoming a young carer, and being hospitalised with mental health problems - and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.
You can also find more from me on parenting teenagers on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills. I'm delighted to say that I've recently been added to this list of top teen parenting podcasters, which - after only two series I'm super proud of.
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