Victoria Metal is a music teacher from North Carolina. At 25, she’s one of the youngest guests on Teenage Kicks, and much closer in age to my teenagers than she is to me. She talks about something I think is common to lots of teenagers, and adults, Depression.
Teenage depression and anxiety facts
Depression and anxiety among teens is common, with nearly a third presenting with symptoms of an anxiety disorder by the age of 18, with anxiety in teenage girls more than twice as common as it is in boys. Teenage years are some of the most stressful times of our lives, with the burden of needing to succeed academically, and social pressures adding to the intense experience of physical development and puberty.
What causes anxiety in teens?
Victoria describes what kickstarted her anxiety – school pressures, friendship issues and overwhelm. Just normal stuff, that so many families will relate to. As a young girl she spent hours on the floor of her bedroom listening to music, just to escape from her emotions. She also tells me about how she tried to ask for help, but didn’t manage to get the support she needed in time to prevent what happened later.
Why teenage mental health needs to be taken seriously
I was struck by how well Victoria coped as a teenager. Talking to her reminded me that being 18 doesn’t make you an adult, and that young people still need emotional support as they begin adult life.
Panic attacks and anxiety
Victoria did eventually get the support she needed, but not before suffering panic attacks at work, and eventually going back to the beginning, and working out the roots of her anxiety with her mother.
Whilst panic attacks in teens aren’t usual, Victoria’s story serves as a warning that teen mental health is as important to take care of as physical health to ensure symptoms don’t worsen further down the line.
Once you’ve finished listening, I’d urge you to go and download this episode of Victoria’s own podcast, The Intention Seekers. In it she reads through her graduation speech, which gave me goosebumps. “You are going to be missed” she told her class, and this is the sentiment she’d offer to those going through the anxiety and self-doubt that many teenagers experience:
You are loved.
What can parents do?
For parents, this conversation with Victoria made me realise how difficult it is to identify and express your feelings at this age, and that actually, asking for help might cost them a LOT! Have a listen to how she first expressed her panic at the state of her emotional health at the age of 12 – it’s a little bit heartbreaking.
Find Victoria here
Further reading and support
- Why depression is on the rise in teenagers
- A parent’s guide to teenage depression
- NHS signposts for depression in children
More teenage parenting tips:
There are lots more episodes of the Teenage Kicks podcast. You can email me on [email protected]. I’ve also got some posts on the blog that might help parents with other teenage parenting dilemmas, so do pop over to Actually Mummy if you fancy a read.
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You can also find more from me on parenting teenagers on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills. I'm delighted to say that I've recently been added to this list of top teen parenting podcasters, which - after only two series I'm super proud of.
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Please note that I am not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice.
Teenage Kicks Podcast
Welcome to the Teenage Kicks podcast, where we take the fear out of parenting - or becoming - a teenager. The internet is full of parenting advice, from when you feel those first baby kicks, until they reach secondary school. And then it stops. No one is talking about teen parenting problems; so we’re going to.
Essential listening for teenagers and their parents, as well as those who work with young adults; Teenage Kicks has teen mental health at its core, and each episode will empower young people to tackle their own problems, and give parents the guidance to know how to help them.
Each week Helen speaks to real individuals who've experienced the issues that young people are dealing with now, and they don't sugar-coat it. From exam nerves and career worries to issues around sexuality and consent, we get tips and advice from expert guests who understand what it’s like to be a teenager today.
Helen will also be chatting about tough teenage problems like cyberbullying and self-harm, drugs, alcohol and teenage pregnancy, all with a heavy dose of reality from someone who's been there and made it through to the other side.
Teenage Kicks for Parents:
As parents, we understand some of our kids’ struggles, but let’s face it, it’s been a while, and things have moved on since we last panicked over a detention! Teenage choices today can seem alien to their parents because teenage life has changed so dramatically since we were young. Teenage Kicks helps you unravel topics like social media, sexting and teen self-esteem so that you can figure out what your child needs support with, and what’s just normal teenage behaviour.
Teenage Kicks for Teens:
Teenagers and parents come at things from different angles, we know. But teenage life can be challenging, and the support of your parents can make navigating tricky dilemmas easier. Teenage Kicks guests aren’t adults who’ve read a textbook; nor are they heavily invested in your day-to-day safety, like your mum and dad. They are real people who’ve been through what you’re dealing with, and they have the inspiration and advice you need to handle it yourself.
Join Helen each week as she chats to a different guest about topics affecting teenagers in 2020, and helps parents and teens to open up a dialogue that will make life easier to navigate on all sides.
You'll also find me chatting about teen parenting here:
This series of the Teenage Kicks Podcast is sponsored by Blue Microphones, who gave me the fabulous Yeticaster mic for all my recordings. It's really straightforward to use, and gives me great sound quality without too much editing.