Being a teenager has never been easy. In today’s world of monthly active shooter drills at schools, social media, and an unrelenting 24-hour news cycle, the pressures teenagers face are in many ways unrelatable to most adults. With all this emotional, and hormonal, turmoil, teens and their parents or trusted adults might not be able to differentiate between normal teenage moodiness and more serious mental health issues. That’s why Robbie’s Hope Foundation has developed an Adult Handbook that provides a roadmap on how to talk to teens about their feelings and their mental health.
“Having open lines of communication with teens on an ongoing basis can be a first step in signaling a potential issue, such as depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide,” Kari Eckert, executive director of Robbie’s Hope Foundation, said.
Eckert noted that while many professional resources exist for how to talk to teens about these critical issues, the new Adult Handbook was created by teens to help parents and other trusted adults—teachers, coaches, youth group leaders, mentors, etc. —initiate and navigate ongoing conversations with the teens in their lives. It reflects how they, the teens, would want a trusted adult to engage in these conversations with them.
The Adult Handbook provides tips for when it is important to have a conversation with a teen, how to choose the right place and time, and how to navigate the conversation.
“It’s easy to put off having conversations with your teenager about depression, anxiety and suicide because it can feel unnecessary or overwhelming. But teens say that continuous open dialogue is the best thing parents and trusted adults can do to prevent normal teenage emotions from progressing into suicidal territory or self-harm of any type,” Eckert said.
The Adult Handbook is available to download here.
About Robbie’s Hope:
Robbie’s Hope Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that is committed to cutting teen suicide rates in half by the year 2028 by helping to destigmatize depression and anxiety. The Foundations strives to empower teens with the tools and resources they need to recognize warning signs and exercise early intervention strategies. Robbie’s Hope is focused on teen-developed, teen-led structured programming, legislative reform, and the support of local resources that specialize in teen mental health therapy. Headquartered in Wheatridge, Colo., Robbie’s Hope was founded by Jason and Kari Eckert following the death of their 15 year-old son Robbie to suicide. For more information and resources, please visit the Robbie’s Hope website.