BAKERSFIELD, Cali — Local mental health professionals say they have been receiving more calls from teens who are feeling isolated and depressed during this time of social distancing.
According to Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, generally 1 in 5 students suffer from some type of anxiety or depression in their middle school or high school years.
“We do get a lot of calls from teens," Ellen Eggert, Program Support Supervisor of Crisis Hot-line for Kern Behavioral Health, said. "They are talking about issues with their parents, they are talking about drug use, they are talking about being away from their friends and they can’t stand that, they’re sometimes talking about suicide.”
Eggert says they've seen more teens calling for help who are battling anxiety and depression. She says these disorders can take on many forms in teenagers.
Aspire Counseling Services say that some of the main signs include self-isolating, feeling wound up, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, unexplained outbursts in behavior, a decline in academic performance or over use of drugs and alcohol.
Aspire Counseling Services also say that anxiety and depression can take on forms of self-harm, such as cutting or eating disorders, especially in girls.
But, for boys, mental illness can look different.
“For men, you will see it in terms of irritability, agitation, acting out, explosiveness, because these are social acceptable ways to express their emotions,” Jesse Finkbeiner, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Services for Aspire Counseling Services, said.
Professionals recommend creating a supportive environment to help your child feel like they can express themselves.
“We are dealing with an illness process, so I don’t know about you but when somebody is sick the last thing I’m gonna do is come in there and get aggressive with them, or tell them everything they’re doing wrong, or criticizing, again we are gonna apply love, we are gonna supply understanding, we’re gonna try and meet them where they’re at," Finkbeiner said.
An open line of communication is key in helping your child be heard as well as getting medical and professional help.
“Ask them, find out what is going on, we know that if we ask people what’s going on in a non-judgmental way, people will tell you,” Eggert said.
If you ever need help or someone to talk to, you can call Kern Behavior Health Crisis Hot-line at 800-991-5272.