Experts give advice to combat fear and anxiety surrounding the h - KCTV5

Experts give advice to combat fear and anxiety surrounding the holidays

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According to the Center for Disease Control, 15 million, or one in five teens, struggle with depression before the age of 18. (CBS) According to the Center for Disease Control, 15 million, or one in five teens, struggle with depression before the age of 18. (CBS)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

For many, the holidays are an exciting time of year as families come together to celebrate.

But, they can also be an extremely tough time for loved ones. The excitement can bring fear and anxiety, causing experts to call for parents to be on high alert.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 15 million, or one in five teens, struggle with depression before the age of 18. They say 10 of those 15 million go undiagnosed or untreated.

Experts say the holidays are the perfect time to pay attention to the signs.

Sometimes folks think that depression or anxiety looks like someone who is sad depressed or isolated but sometimes depression really looks very different than that,” said Jerrie Jacobs-Kenner, a Senior Director at Crittenton Children’s Center.

Parents are asked to watch out for kids who are fighting more than normal, are overly concerned about their weight or dieting, are easily irritable or are overly hyper.

2017 has been a violent year on both a national and local level. Experts say the end of the year is a good time to talk with children about how they feel about the year as a whole. They say there is a right and a wrong way to do so.

Experts say the best way is to follow these steps:


Notice their behavior.

Don’t name the emotion their showing, let them do it.

Validate their feeling and then respond.

Come up with a solution or answer together.


Experts also tell parents to make sure the family has a checklist. They say families should ask themselves these questions:


Is the family connecting with others?

Are we treating each other with compassion?

Are helping others or helping a bigger cause?

Does our family value other’s opinions?


“For young people who are experiencing mental illness, if they go untreated and don’t learn healthy coping skills those behaviors can often result in them taking very big risks in terms of their behavior,” Jacobs-Kenner said.

With kids out of school for the holidays, experts say it’s the perfect time to embrace family traditions, citing benefits to children’s mental health.

Experts tell parents that the holiday traditions give kids a sense of identity, a feeling of belonging and a sense of structure, which is important, especially during the adolescent years.

“It can really help kind of counter-act the loneliness and anxiety issues later in life when you have those happy memories to reflect back on,” Jerrie Jacobs-Kenner said.

Some of the holiday traditions that experts say are helpful are having an annual Christmas dinner and getting the kids involved or giving them a responsibility.

For younger children, experts say parents should make sure they are the one who puts them to bed, and with Christmas around the corner, to make it a point to do something for the holidays as a family.

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