Working parents face challenges at every stage of raising children, but helping teenagers become happy, confident adults amidst today’s social, political and media influences can feel especially overwhelming.
The health of teens is top of mind, as recent reports show that levels of depression, anxiety, ADHD and eating disorders are on the rise. Over one-third of high school students have suffered from poor mental health in the last few years, and half said they feel sad and hopeless on a regular basis, according to the CDC. For working parents and caretakers, investing the time to understand and help manage these issues is important, but difficult as they juggle busy work schedules, lack of access to care, and suffer from exhaustion themselves. A study by The Ohio State University found that 66% of working parents met the criteria for burnout, with those who had children under 18 with a mental health issue being more at risk.
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To help working parents, care concierge platform Wellthy has launched a Teen Support service line which became available in June. Parents and caregivers have free access to resources, content and expert advice from care professionals on topics such as academics, life skills-building, mental health, sexual education, LGBTQ support services, social media and substance use.
“How do we support families more proactively with the tools, content and education to feel equipped to support their teen, and then how do we support those parents of teens through a crisis?” says Lindsay Jurist-Rosner, CEO of Wellthy. “We found a lack of information for parents of teens who are facing a unique moment in time is a recipe for an impact that is unprecedented.”
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The teen service line connects employees to proactive care tools, helping them get ahead of a crisis situation. Members can learn about common issues teens are faced with and helpful strategies on discussing them with their children and teaching them to face them in a healthy way. If digital resources are not enough, an advocate is available to guide parents and put a care plan in place, including professional intervention if necessary.
Additionally, these tools teach communication skills between parents and teens, helping them identify their child’s specific needs and assist in the development of problem-solving and executive function skills — a major missing element among today’s youth, says teen expert and counselor Rebecca Kullback, who partnered with Wellthy to design the program.
“We’ve learned that many kids are having crises because of skills deficits,” she says. “If kids look really competent in many ways, but haven’t learned to develop those basic skills and trust in their ability to use them, they get anxious when they begin to face unfamiliar problems or they become increasingly helpless, which is one of the primary risk factors for depression.””
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While parents need help, asking for assistance isn’t always easy to do. Alongside benefits like the Wellthy helpline, employers can make the conversation around mental health part of their communication with employees, which encourages them to be open about their needs and those of their family.
“When an employer is talking about quarterly expectations or planned corporate events and holidays, [putting] a sentence in there that says, ‘Let us know so that we make sure we can support that time and have clear expectations,’ Kullback says. “Employers can make that really explicit and introduce problem-solving into the workplace.”