How Peers Can Help with Teen Mental Health

Under the direction of Dr. Ramsey Khasho, CHC staff members and other expert contributors provide answers to questions about the serious issue of teen anxiety and depression in our community.

“How Peers Can Help” provides suggestions for the ways in which peers can support a friend dealing with anxiety and depression.

How Peers Can Help

1. What are the top two or three things that a peer can do to help a friend get through (live with) anxiety and or depression?

The number one thing a peer can do to support a friend dealing with anxiety and depression is to encourage the friend to seek support from a trusted adult if they have not already done so.  If a friend is hesitant about seeking adult support or mental health treatment, a reminder or encouragement from a peer that seeking adult support and/or mental health treatment can be the first step towards feeling better can be helpful.   In addition, if a peer is concerned about something a friend has shared with them, it is important for the peer to talk to an adult about it.

Peers often worry about breaking a friend’s trust by talking to an adult, but if a peer is concerned about something a friend shared and/or is feeling distressed about it, it is beneficial for both of them to share that information with an adult to get support related to the concern.  For friends who already have adult and/or professional support for coping with anxiety or depression, just continue to be a friend and do all the same activities you would normally do with that friend regardless of their anxiety or depression.  For example, as long as both peers enjoy doing so, it would be helpful to hang out together, chat about their days, do fun things together, work together on homework, and so on. Having a positive social connection with a friend and/or spending time with a friend doing something they enjoy can be a great mood changer or positive distraction for a teen experiencing anxiety or depression.

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Other posts in this series:

Teen Mental Health Q&A Introduction
Environment vs. Biology
Middle School Kids Ages 10-12 and Younger
Profile of High Risk Kids
Redefining Success
The Role of Social Media
How Schools Can Help
How Parents Can Help
Other Concerns

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