Young people are struggling with mental health and substance use now more than ever. But why? And when did it get worse?
Thursday, October 6th 2022, Hope Academy hosted a panel discussion at IUPUI featuring clinical experts and people with lived experience to help answer these questions and provide insight on how we can move forward to best serve our most vulnerable youth.
Panelists included Janice Gabe, Dr. Leslie Hulvershon, Sarah Platt and Chris Platt. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Zachary Adams. Here were some of the takeaways:
Stay informed about today’s drug trends: Substances are everchanging. High-potency THC is incredibly dangerous to the developing brain. Now is the not the time to minimize marijuana use, as the substance is anything but harmless to youth.
Recognize how social media influences adolescents: Kids have become more isolated since the emergence of social media. If your teen would rather stay in and scroll on their phone, that’s a key indicator of isolation and something to be aware of and address.
Be patient with your teen: The road to recovery isn’t pretty. It’s scary and it’s a long journey that will take time. Be understanding and patient with young people. You will have hiccups along the way, but stay the course.
Don’t invalidate young people: Love, accept and allow teens to feel their feelings. You can be loving, nurturing and supportive while also setting clear boundaries. Just don’t discount a young person’s vulnerability.
Reach out to teens: Before the pandemic, 50% of teens reported struggling with social anxiety. Today, our experts suspect that percentage to be much higher. Don’t be afraid to talk to kids and ask them how they’re doing and what they need.
Like adults, teens want to feel accepted and cared for. According to our panelist, Sarah Platt, a former Hope Academy student and current recovery coach, the feeling of embarrassment, shame and guilt kept her from wanting to receive help. She says her parents’ open-mindedness, love and patience saved her life.
Thank you to our panelists, the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, SAMHSA and the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction for sponsoring this event.