Is Your Teen Experiencing Anxiety?


If you believe that your teen is experiencing anxiety, don’t wait to help. Here is a basic “how-to” guide on anxiety in teens and how you can help.

Some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Social withdrawl; spending more time in their room alone than out with others
  • Restless, distracted, poor concentration
  • Lose of weight due to under eating
  • Complaints of headaches or stomach aches to avoid activities such as school
  • Drop in grades at school
  • Bites nails, picks skin or hair

How can you help?

  • Create a safe place for your teen to feel open to talking about what’s on their mind and their feelings. You can create this by practicing non judgement and empathy during listening sessions with your teen
  • Connect them with a local counsellor or psychologist in your community. A counsellor or psychologist will be able to help your teen navigate the anxiety through use of coping mechanisms and new life skills. Currently, Gumboot is offering 2 free counselling sessions to all teens and young people under 25.
  • Help problem solve with your teen. If their worry is a real concern such as being bullied at school; ask your teen what would help in this situation and act upon their advice. Don’t over parent, but don’t ignore. Give your teen space to grow and work through their problems, using you as a sounding board.

More Tips

  • Talk to your teen’s GP about your concerns for a referral to the DHB’s psychiatrist for a medication evaluation/review. Science has shown that the most effective treatment for anxiety is a combination of medication, therapy, and life changes.
  • Practice mindful breathing. Slowing down our breathing regularly helps our bodies to release tension and stress throughout our bodies. Try a 4- 2- 4 breathing pattern
  • Grounding exercises in times of panic can help bring your teen back to reality. A popular easy exercise is 5,4,3,2,1- look around the room and find:  5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

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