Mental health and teenager burnout
I am really starting to question what we, as a society, are doing to our children. I feel like we are training our young people to be completely disconnected from what they are feeling in their mind and body.
Our beautiful children are constantly being told to push down how they are feeling and carry on by the people they respect; their doctors, their teachers and their parents.
Our teenagers are telling us they are concerned about their mental health. A recent Headspace survey has shown us that 60% of our teenagers have grave concerns with regard to their mental health.
1 in 3 teenage girls have a mental health condition. 1 in 10 teenagers harm themselves. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young Australians.
Our response as a society “Carry on! A little bit of stress is good for you!” Because as Gen X, this is what we were told by our parents.
However, we grew up in a totally different world to our young people.
The inflammatory environment
This younger generation are the canaries in the mineshaft – they are warning us that the environment we are living in is not conducive to mental or physical health. Our scientists know this too.
In the last 10 years obesity, diabetes and cancer rates have more than doubled in our young people!! More than doubled in ten years!!
Yet we fail to connect the dots and see that this inflammatory environment we are living in is not only causing an increase in physical health conditions but mental health conditions as well. Teenager burnout is a real issue.
Something must change! We need to look at the environment, the biology and the social and psychological aspects of mental health in order to get real and lasting change for our children.
A real life story of teenager burnout
As an example, we treated an amazing boy this year. Only 15 years old, top-grade student, excellent at sports and extremely popular. Yet, when he came to see us he was suicidal.
He had been struggling with depression, anxiety and fatigue for over a year. It was now affecting every aspect of his life.
His grades were slipping, he couldn’t concentrate in class, he was lacking energy and focus on the sporting field but more importantly, he was overwhelmed with anxiety.
When we saw him, he had been in counselling for over 12 months to help him cope with this new and terrifying life, but he didn’t want to cope. He wanted to live - he wanted his life back!
We did a QEEG brain map and an overall health assessment. We discovered this boy was experiencing teenager burnout! His own and societal expectations had pushed him to breaking point.
He was so relieved. He had been to numerous experts and had endless tests and everything had come back clear, so he was told it was all in his head.
Now there was a physical explanation for the way he was feeling. More importantly, there was something he could do about it. He was no longer helpless, he was now empowered.
Let's allow our teenagers to rest
This is just one example. We see this constantly in our clinic with teenage girls and boys – totally burnt out and filled with anxiety as they cannot meet expectations! Their body is crying out for rest, but no one will allow it!
When teenager burnout occurs the child doesn’t want to go to school, do their homework or listen to their parents. This is often seen as defiance. These children are often pushed to keep achieving and this can eventually lead to anxiety and depression.
If only we listened to our youth and let them rest, then they could rebalance, rebuild and recover and get back to their normal life.
If only we taught our children to listen to their body, to see the connection between their body, their gut and their brain. Then they could learn to regulate their system.
They would know when to rest, how to nourish their body and how to get to the root cause of their mental health issues. Then they would feel empowered!
Instead, they are feeling defeated by their stressful and inflammatory environment.
So this is a call out to all teenagers – We understand teenager burnout and want to know what do you need to assist your mental health?
Do we need to reform our education system, our medical system or our food industry?
What support do you need in this face-paced, high tech, ever-changing world so that you can thrive?
Please know we are listening and we want to help.