Tag: Mental Health

News and Updates

How To Deal with A Bully

Once again, your typically studious daughter wakes up saying she does not feel good and refuses to go to school. Her grades have been dropping, and, for that matter, so has her weight. She has not been eating well, she spends her time hiding in her room, and she bursts into tears over everything. Yes, teen girls can be a little complicated, but sometimes it becomes more than that. Sadly, an increasing number of young people are dealing with bullying.

How You Can Help

The most crucial step is to get her to talk about what is going on. If you ask, “Is everything okay,” you will probably get the standard, “I’m fine.” Instead, dig a little deeper without any judgment, disappointment, or accusation. If she realizes you are a safe place to vent, she may be more open to you. Be specific by asking something like, “Is there something going on at school?”

Once you get her to talk, be sure to listen attentively. Let her vent and encourage her to get it out. Let her know she is not alone. Once she has had a chance to release those feelings, there are pieces of advice that may help.

Remind her that the reason for the bullying is to get a reaction, so make sure that is the last thing she will want to give them. Even if she is terrified, keep it inside and walk away. Do not let the bully see it.

Other Tips for Coping

There are other tips you can pass along to your daughter. She should avoid areas where the bullying takes place and block phone numbers and email addresses. Choose a group of loyal friends she can discuss the bullying with and stick close to. There is always power in numbers. As a last resort, if she must respond, do it with humor.

As her parent, consider discreetly telling a teacher at school about your daughter’s situation so they can keep an eye out. Do some research to put together a list of activities that will help build her confidence and open a new social circle.

Make sure your daughter knows beyond a doubt that she is important and loved, and the bully’s opinion is not reality. Make sure she has confidence and a support system. Research all the resources available in your area, and let us work together to stop bullying.

News and Updates

Is Your Teenage Son Stressed?

It is hard to watch sometimes. When your teenage son was little, your son was anxious about dentists, monsters, or being alone in the dark. Now he is still your little boy, but he is also a young man, and his anxiety is much more complicated. When kids become teenagers, their anxiety becomes more internal. They may get moody and irritable. They explode if you mention anything out of place. Do not worry, he will be okay. It is all a part of growing up, and you can help.

Helping Teens Cope

Teen years are a time of change for your child as they head towards adulthood. They are changing emotionally, physically, and socially. They are worried about how they measure up to the world around them, especially their peers. So how can you help?

  • First, get your son to talk. Talking helps to process all the chaos spinning around in his mind, especially when there is someone listening.

When he talks, he can sort through his feelings about things. When you listen intently, you will be more in tune with any way that you can help. One thing that seems to help is physical activity while you have a conversation. Go for a walk together. The fresh air and gentle rhythm of your steps provide encouragement for the words to come to the surface.

  • Acknowledging his fears and anxiety is essential. What he is anxious about may never happen, but his feelings are still real. Acknowledge his anxiety and let him know you are confident he can manage it. Use warmth and compassion and hope they can use this to develop self-compassion as well.
  • Encourage him to talk positively to himself with little pep talks. Be sure to let him know it is okay to ask for help. Humans are not designed to go through this life alone, and you are always there for them. Reassure him this is something we all go through, and he is not alone. Getting good sleep, eating right, and even meditation will all help guarantee success as well.

If your son continues to have issues for an extended period of time or it begins to interfere with normal life, it may be time to seek the help of professional help from a school counselor or psychologist. The most important tip is to get your teen talking so you can understand the issue, and he can feel like he is understood and that his feelings are important.

News and Updates

Celebrating African American History Month – Health and Wellness

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since 1976, the United States has celebrated the generations of African Americans who faced adversity in America. We at the Alpha Connection would be remiss if we did not draw attention to this important heritage month.

Ideas to Learn More about African American History

Alpha Connection would like to urge you to use this month in reflection and in an effort to learn more. Here are some ideas for you and your family:

  • Read amazing literature, perhaps from Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, or so many others
  • Study remarkable scientists, such as Alice Ball, Benjamin Banneker, or George Robert Carruthers
  • Investigate key events during the civil rights era, like Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 1961 Freedom Rides, or Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Birmingham Demonstrations
  • Marvel at inventions by African Americans, such as how Mary Van Brittan Brown coinvented a home security system in the 1960s or how in 1923 Garrett Morgan developed the 3-light traffic signal
  • Identify and research critical periods in African American history, such as the middle passage, abolition, desegregation, or the Harlem Renaissance

Black Health and Wellness

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History picked the theme for 2022 as “Black Health and Wellness.” Perhaps Simone Biles’s bravery at the 2020 Olympics Summer Games influenced this decision. But unfortunately, Simone’s public acknowledgment of stress is typically not done. After her admission and following support from the world at large, other athletes came forward with their own stories of stress. As Simone found comfort in connecting with others, we strive to do the same with our short-term residential therapy program. Alpha Connections may not be a long-term facility or foster care, but we want to help our residents to live happy and healthy lives. As such, we value fitness, including mental, physical, social, and spiritual, as the top core area of well-being that we focus on.

Alpha Connection is naturally drawn to honoring Black History Month because of the many astonishing individuals who faced times of hardship and did not relent because of dire situations. Further, Black History Month is about providing understanding and growing knowledge for Americans. So take some time this month to reflect on and learn about these great achievements.

News and Updates

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.

News and Updates

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.