Something’s up with our kids. Depression rates and suicides are on the rise. In a world that can feel scary and “psychologically taxing” at times, what can we do to help our children become resilient? The answer: treat their anxiety, as well as our own.

In this piece, Kate Julian dives into the mental health epidemic that’s affecting American children. A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center (a think tank based in Washington D.C.) showed that “from 2007 to 2017, the percentage of 12-to-17-year-olds who had experienced a major depressive episode in the previous year shot up from 8 percent to 13 percent.” In one decade, the number of severely depressed teens increased by 1.2 million. It may be easy to blame all of this on social media, but experts give a different, more sobering take on the root cause: untreated childhood anxiety.

Treatment of childhood anxiety is important because not only can it stave off later anxiety/mood disorders, but it can also help kids become more resilient in the moment. Experts cited by Julian talk about allowing kids to “tolerate feelings of discomfort” and not necessarily put an emotional band-aid on every worry a child has. The article also goes to great lengths to discuss how untreated parental anxiety can portend the development of anxiety disorders in kids; more than 50% of kids who grow up with an anxious parent end up meeting criteria for an anxiety disorder later in life.

So, what can we do to help our kids? While limiting time on social media is great, one of the biggest ways to help kids manage anxiety and gain resilience is by parents themselves seeking treatment for their anxiety. When parents are able to rein in their anxious tendencies, they are more of a calming presence for their children. They are then able to help them navigate the choppy, uncertain waters of life. At CalPsychiatry, our physicians are dedicated to helping parents learn to manage their anxiety. Whether the treatment is medication, therapy, or both, doctors at our many locations are able to help get to the root of a client’s anxiety. They can also work in conjunction with a client’s therapist and help obtain parenting resources if needed.

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