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Looking after yourself too

In this article we discuss the importance of looking after yourself when you're supporting a young person who is dealing with depression.
If you are an adult supporting a teenager who is unhappy, this is likely to be an upsetting and challenging time for you and it can be really hard to know where to find help and support for yourself. It’s important that you take time to look after yourself and try and ensure:

  • You’re getting enough sleep
  • You’re eating well
  • You’re getting some exercise or taking part in some form of physical activity
  • You have a social life
  • You have support from other people

Not only will this help you get through this difficult time, it will also provide a good ‘model’ for your teenager. ‘Modelling’ is a key idea in psychology. Children and adults learn many behaviours and skills in a number of different ways, including through rewards and punishments, and by watching other people. People who teenagers admire are likely to be more powerful models than people they don’t.

This principle works for behaviours that you want young people to learn, and that you and others demonstrate every day. These can include being kind to others, practical skills such as cooking or DIY, taking exercise and keeping fit, and enjoying a social life. You’re an important source of learning for your teenager – they’re learning to be an adult, and you’re likely to be one of the most important adults they know.

Share one or more ideas of a positive behaviour you can demonstrate every day, in the comments area below.

© University of Reading
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Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

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