How Are You Feeling?

Posted by The MindScape Team on 11/15/2023

How Are You Feeling 1

At any moment, you can scroll through social media and know exactly how someone is feeling just by the emoji that pops up on a post. Imagine how easy it would be to know exactly what your teen is feeling if an emoji popped up each time you engaged with them. Okay, we realize A LOT of emojis might pop up at once — happy, sad, content, anxious, excited, depressed, confident, embarrassed, proud, or disappointed, just to name a few — but there would be no mistaking their emotional state.

It is common for teenagers, like adults, to feel worried, stressed, or sad with the ups and downs of daily life, but opening up about their thoughts and feelings can be difficult. Many teens don’t have the social-emotional skills to express themselves or can’t find the words to describe their emotions. As adults, we know that talking about our feelings and sharing what we’re going through can often put things into perspective, but teens often don’t seek out help on their own and might need your encouragement to feel comfortable opening up. 

If your teen vents about something that’s bothering them, teach them to “sit” with the experience, rather than remove the cause of emotional discomfort. Help them discover that they can handle discomfort and then move on. If you raise concerns with your teen and they don’t want to speak with you, suggest other trusted adults they could speak with. Sometimes it’s just easier for them to talk to someone else.

If you find your teen is persistently struggling with overwhelming emotions to the point that it interferes beyond their school day and daily life, you might wonder “How do I help my teen navigate this?” These situations can feel overwhelming and isolating. So, begin by reminding yourself that anxiety is a normal emotion. Everyone feels anxious at times. Then, consider speaking with your teen’s primary care provider. It’s an appropriate place to begin when seeking more support. Having another perspective can be helpful. Remind your teen that talking with their doctor or other health professionals is private and confidential unless they’re worried about themselves or someone else’s safety. 

When it comes to your teen’s health and wellness, we have staff on campus who can help direct you toward appropriate and available services. Your teen has access to: 

School Counselors: In addition to supporting your teen’s personal and career goals, our school counselors offer brief social-emotional interventions to students and make referrals when supplemental support is needed. They also provide psychoeducation around mental health topics, such as anxiety and depression, to our entire student body.

Adjustment Counselors: Our adjustment counselors provide one-on-one short-term, strength-based, and solution-focused support to referred students based on the severity and complexity of the individual’s needs. They also offer a variety of groups and programs for students who need more support. 

Riverside Clinicians: In affiliation with Milford Regional Medical Center, our on-campus School Based Health Center provides therapy to referred students during the school day. The clinicians can also help connect your teen with additional services like psychiatry through the Riverside Community Care Clinic.
    
Cartwheel Care: We recently partnered with Cartwheel Care, a new telehealth mental health service available to students. Your teen can see a licensed clinician (usually one hour, once a week outside of school hours) within seven days of a referral. Services include assessments, therapy, medication, care coordination, and parent support. 

The most important takeaway here is that you and your teen are not alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out directly for professional support. No matter how you or your teen are feeling, you don’t have to go through this alone; hope and help are available. To learn more about our mental health and wellness supports, visit www.valleytech.k12.ma.us/mentalhealthwellness.