No one said it was easy being a teenager. This is especially true for Black Americans who must cope with the struggles of systemic racism and feelings of inadequacy. If your child also suffers from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, it is important that you address these issues right away. If you find it difficult connecting with them, consider taking them to therapy. Therapists have the training and expertise to help them get through these difficult years by supplying them with coping mechanisms. If your child applies what they are taught, it can improve every aspect of their lives, from doing better in school to fostering healthy friendships.
Breaking the Stigma
In some Black communities, children are raised to believe that mental illness is a weakness, not an illness. If your upbringing has affected your perception of mental illness, it is important that you not pass these dangerous beliefs onto your child. Instead, try to approach your child’s struggles with an open mind. A good first step is to educate yourself on their specific mental condition. We also encourage you to talk to a specialist about what medical treatment entails.
There are many types of therapy. Sessions can be one-on-one, within groups, or a combination approach. Some sessions can include the parent, while other times, the specialist may only talk to the parent. Whatever approach you and your child choose, feel confident that it will work. Therapy has been proven to treat a variety of conditions, including ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) depression, and anxiety.
At Black Minds Matter Psychotherapy, we offer:
- Integrative brief psychotherapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
- Narrative therapy
We offer these forms of treatment and more, bringing a new approach to mental wellness.
Learn Coping Mechanisms
Life is tough. It is no surprise that when faced with these challenges, some teenagers are unable to deal with them on their own. Having a mental illness makes an already confusing time in their lives more difficult. They will have days when they feel frustrated or ashamed that their illness is holding them back from the activities they want to pursue. As a result, they may cope by acting out.
As a parent, the most important thing you can do is recognize when a problem exists. The next step is to take your child to a specialist for therapeutic treatment.
3 Benefits of Therapy
By going to therapy, your child will be heard, their confidence will increase, and their behavior will improve. These are the three most significant advantages of taking your teenager to therapy.
- They’re heard: It’s not uncommon for children with mental disorders to feel like they’re alone. Because it’s difficult connecting with peers, they may not always feel understood. By speaking to a professional, they can talk, be heard, and gain advice and coping mechanisms from a trained professional.
- Confidence boost: Every teenager struggles with low self-esteem. This is worse for children who don’t feel like they belong. However, by going to therapy, they receive “homework” to help them acquire new skills and discover their strengths.
- Improvement: There is no set timeframe for completing therapy. Many factors play a role, including your child’s consistency and open-mindedness. Finding the right therapist is also important. The Eurocentric approach in mainstream psychiatry can make it challenging for black teens to connect with a white counselor. Even black adults ask themselves: “What would a white specialist know about my problems?” The fact is, therapists are not familiar with the clinical issues that such clients present. Depending on the origin of your child’s grievances, choosing a black therapist who understands racial inequity can make all the difference.
Contact Black Minds Matter Psychotherapy
You and your teenager will be able to get through these difficult years together, stronger than before. Although the focus on black mental health still needs much improvement, the good news is that progress is slowly being made. By looking into our services and reading this article, you are contributing to this progress.
Our goal is to bring a new approach to mental wellness. For a therapist in Oakland, CA, contact Black Minds Matter Psychotherapy. Call 415-524-8358 to schedule an appointment.