Tag: Adolescents

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Mental Health and Wellness – When Intervention Is Needed

It’s normal for teens and children to have ups and downs when it comes to emotions, but how do you know when it is time to seek outside help? Sometimes it’s difficult to know when intervention may be needed. However, early intervention is key to helping children and teens cope with feelings and emotions.

Emotional Symptoms Under the Surface

Sometimes it may be difficult for young people to open up and communicate their feelings to others. There may be outward signs of trouble coping, such as academic grades declining. Suppose your child is becoming more socially withdrawn – not keeping in touch with friends as they used to, spending more time isolated in their bedroom, or not wanting to go to extracurricular activities or events they normally participate in. In that case, these may be early signs as well.

Anger and opposition is a common emotion and is typically displayed with raised voices in the heat of an argument. Many times, things are said that can be hard to take back and aren’t easily forgotten or forgiven. This can make adult/child relationships difficult to navigate, and sometimes an impartial third party can help in more challenging situations. Whether this person is a school counselor or an outside therapist, a neutral professional can help people learn coping skills and ways to communicate that can help them better manage their emotions when tensions run high in situations that are difficult to manage.

Physical Symptoms Need to be Addressed

Older children and teens may also have physical symptoms in stressful situations, especially if they have been going on for extended periods of time. Decreased appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain or discomfort, headaches, and fatigue may all be physical symptoms of anxiety or depression. School avoidance may also be occurring due to physical symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to have any physical symptoms checked out by a health care provider.

In more severe cases, youth and teens may even voice suicidal ideations or thoughts and feelings of wanting to hurt themselves. If feelings progress to this, immediate intervention is warranted. For this reason, it is so important that when children or teens begin to feel overwhelmed by their emotions or any outward signs can be identified, steps are taken to intervene early. By putting a plan in place to get them the services they need, healthier outcomes can be successfully achieved.

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Discussing Mental Health with Teens

Though mental health awareness has gotten a big push in the media over the course of the last few years, it’s still a topic that many parents find hard to bring up with their growing children. If you have a teen at home, though, you should be setting an example for how to discuss mental health issues. Doing so will not only inform the attitudes that your teen takes into their adult years, but it will also give them a chance to know that you’re there if they are struggling.

Normalize Talking about Mental Health

The first and perhaps most important thing to do is to normalize the concept of struggling with one’s mental health. Though you may not have any particular struggles that you can point to, it’s vital that you let your teen know that many people do struggle with their mental health and that doing so is not a mark of weakness or a sign of bad character. Instead, it’s merely another health issue that needs proper care.

This discussion can and should be a dialog. While you may be giving your teen information, you should be prepared to listen to their questions and let your teen direct at least part of the conversation. If you are unsure of any answers to their inquiries, make sure to consult trusted online resources or to make an appointment with a mental health professional so that you can gather the correct information.

Create a System to Communicate Mental Struggles

It’s also a good idea to create a system for letting your teen talk to you about their own struggles. While they might not feel comfortable revealing everything, creating a system that allows your teen to express their general feelings will allow for more communication and might enable them to better track their mood. With a good system in place, you can notice trends and determine if any kind of intervention is necessary.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about mental health issues. Doing so not only helps to keep them safe now, but will have an impact as they grow up. With the proper discussions now, you can prepare your teen for a healthier life in the future.

Close-up portrait of a sad young man lying on the bench in the p
News and Updates

Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide is something that touches us all. From those who have had suicidal ideation to those who have lost friends or family members, it’s hard not to see ways in which the phenomenon has become a significant part of modern life. That’s why it is so important to take the time to talk about Suicide Prevention Month and the steps that can be taken to protect those who are the most vulnerable, not just now, but year-round.

Take Steps to Understand Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Month is designed to shine a spotlight not just on the ongoing suicide epidemic, but on the resources and methods that can help prevent it from taking lives. From workshops and books to counseling and residential treatment programs, these resources are invaluable for saving lives. But, unfortunately, many of those who are at their lowest and feel like they have nowhere left to turn simply might not be aware of the resources that are available to them.

It’s vital that even those who have not had their lives impacted by a suicide or suicide attempt take the time to understand what can be done to help those who feel like they have nowhere to which they can turn. Knowing the numbers to call or resources to tap can help many get the help they need. Rather than trying to villainize those who take their own lives or to somehow insist that individuals can power through suicidal ideation on their own, realizing that suicide is a societal issue that requires a societal approach really is the way forward that can make the most change for the most significant number of people.

Whether you have struggled with suicidal thoughts or you simply want to ensure that you know what to do if someone in your life is considering committing suicide, the programs spotlighted this month and the outreach performed can give you the knowledge that you need to offer an alternative. Sometimes simply knowing that there is help out there can be the necessary first step in helping an individual in crisis find a way to stay safe during a trying time.

Teenage Boy With Problem Talking With Counselor At Home
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How to Prepare for Counseling

Counseling can be an incredibly useful experience for those who are in the process of recovering from trauma or addiction. It can also be a useful process for anyone who is looking to sort through personal issues or who simply feels like they need help moving forward in their lives. With that said, it can be difficult to speak to a counselor for the first time, especially if you’re going in without outside supports. That’s why it’s vital to have a plan to prepare for your first counseling session.

Steps Toward Counseling

The first step to take is to think about the reason why you are attending counseling. For some, those reasons will be crystal clear from the first moment. For others, though, it will take a bit of digging to figure out why you are looking for help. It’s entirely appropriate to go to counseling simply because you’re not sure what else to do because you want to get your life on track, but it never hurts to spend a bit of time interrogating your reasoning for speaking with a counselor.

The next step is to prepare yourself for what an actual counseling session is like. While there are many depictions of counseling in media, most of them are quite inaccurate. It might be useful for you to call the counseling office to find out what to expect for your first session. In some cases, you’ll simply complete some minor intake paperwork and spend a bit of time on introductions. In other cases, you might get right to work. Knowing what comes next can calm your nerves and better prepare you for what comes next.

No matter what you do, you should also remember that meeting with a counselor is ultimately your choice. You have the power in this situation, so you are taking a positive step to improve your own life. If you are ready to speak with someone about the problems that you are encountering, you should give yourself credit for taking an action that will ultimately give you more options as to how you will move forward to a better future.

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Post Covid Activity

As the world faced an unexpected halt as a result of the pandemic, clients have been faced with a wall of adversity in day-to-day activities. Clients’ normal schedules and activities were changed due to rules and mandates from the CDC and Public Health Departments to help keep our clients protected and not come in contact with the infectious virus COVID-19.

At Alpha Connection we know that activities are extremely important to one’s well-being and mental health and if not able to do normal everyday activities it can negatively affect the clients’ mental health and create depressive and isolated behavior. As the world is opening up and vaccines are readily available we plan to keep our clients active and engaged in therapeutic outdoor activities and outings with protective plans in place.

Alpha Connection will do everything we can possibly do to keep our clients safe and protected during these outings. Our team emphasizes that this pandemic is NOT over and hundreds of Americans continue to catch this virus daily. We all need to do our part to stand up and continue the fight against COVID-19 by wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

– Cam Wilson

News and Updates

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time when eyes turn towards an incredibly important topic in order to not only shed light on a number of ongoing issues, but to bring to light the work that’s being done to help aid children and families alike who have suffered from this kind of abuse. While Child Abuse is certainly something that remains in the popular consciousness year-round, taking the time to shine a spotlight on it can only help those who have been victims of abuse.

Understanding the Realities of Child Abuse

Child abuse is, sadly, a topic that covers more ground than most might imagine. Not only must one come to terms with the terror that’s often part and parcel of physical abuse, but there’s also a need to understand the role that other types of abuse play in causing harm. A major part of this month’s focus on child abuse is the attempt to get past the myths of child abuse and to pull the very real issues experienced by many families into the public eye.

Ensuring that the cycle of abuse can eventually be broken

It’s likewise important to remember that Child Abuse Prevention Month is about more than just education. In many ways, it’s about making sure that resources are advertised and made available for those who are either currently dealing with abuse or who are otherwise still grappling with problems caused by abuse that happened in the past. Making these resources available is a part of ensuring that the cycle of abuse can eventually be broken.

Alpha Connection is Here to Prevent, Educate, and Offer Aid

While the goal of National Child Abuse Prevention month is to prevent, educate, and offer aid during the month of April, the same resources are largely available throughout the year. Only by ensuring that all of these fantastic resources are put to use throughout the year can real progress be made in the fight against child abuse.

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The Value of a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program

The right environment can be a make or break part of treatment for anyone. When it comes to adolescents, though, the environment is even more important. Though there are certainly many places that an adolescent can recover, many do recommend group homes. Though the experiences in a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program may vary, there’s no doubt that these programs show their value in specific ways.

Creating the Right Treatment Environment

First and foremost, Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program allow adolescents who are undergoing treatments some sense of normalcy. While the environment may not be what they were used to at home – and indeed, in many cases, should not be – the STRTP environment does provide the least restrictive possible environment for them. There is something to be said for getting to about one’s life in a setting that feels more like the real world, especially when undergoing any type of rehabilitation.

STRTP also help to provide adolescents with a sense of structure that can help them in the transition out of treatment. Though there are still rules in place and a kind of metaphorical scaffolding built around these homes that helps with recovery, it is a step towards returning to the real world. Those who are in group homes are given a chance to cope and grow in an environment that, while still therapeutic, may not provide the same kind of safety nets as a clinical facility.

Being able to gradually step back into their day-to-day lives

Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program are a fantastic tool for those young people who are in treatment. Though no two Short Term Residential Therapeutic Programs are the same, they all do well to further the mission of recovery. Whether those inside need the nurturing that can only come from a home-like environment or they need the safety that comes with being able to gradually step back into their day-to-day lives, these STRTP serve an important role in the recovery process.