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Ways to tell if your teen is struggling with anxiety, how to help

HOUSTON – Back to school is different this year, no doubt about it. While getting back to class might be a routine that is good for teens, it could also be difficult for them to adjust — yet again — to something new.

“Teens have been very resilient during this time.,” said Ashley Bryant from Therapy in Color.

Bryant pointed out all the creative TikTok videos and other viral videos that teenagers have created during this difficult time being unable to socialize with friends, saying that the feeling of being connected is so critical to their development. However, Bryant said a lot of teens hide feelings of depression and anxiety from their parents.

A new study shows 73% of teens say the events in 2020 have made them more worried about their future, and 56% of teens said they were worried about their mental health.

Here are ways to determine if your teen is struggling:

Harmful self talk

Bryant warned about some big red flags that include noticing “drastic behavior changes or they start talking about themselves in a more negative way... or if they start talking about self-harming."

Withdrawing

“If you have a teen who was very social before and now they are not interacting with friends, even on a virtual or social media platform, it’s probably time to sit down and have a conversation of ‘What’s going on?’ and ‘How can I help you?’”

Bryant said these withdrawals can be signs of anxiety or depression.

Boys may be aggressive while girls may express more emotions

“Sometimes with boys it can be difficult for them to express their emotions," Bryant said. “Sometimes it may come out as anger or aggression. For girls, it’s more socially acceptable for them to talk about their emotions. You may find they talk more versus acting out, so to speak, or having those behavioral problems.”

She said to take time to sit down and really talk to your teens or have them talk to someone else. There are several online services that match your teen to a licensed professional counselor.

Top online therapy picks:

Best Overall: Talkspace

Best Live Chat Sessions: Betterhelp

Best for Couples: Regain

Best for Teens: Teen Counseling

Best for LGBTQ: Pride Counseling

Best for a Quick Consultation: Amwell

Best for Peer Support: 7 Cups of Tea

Best Free Assessment: Doctor on Demand

Best for Access to a Psychiatrist: MDLive