The COVID-19 pandemic has many people feeling on edge, and teenagers are especially known for acting out their negative emotions. In recent months, teens have been forced to go through many changes that may include having to stay home from school, take a break from their job and social distance from their friends. All of these impact your teen directly, but they may also be reacting to secondary traumatic stress.
Secondary traumatic stress is sometimes referred to as vicarious traumatization. This occurs when your teen is exposed to stories about how others are being harmed. This can come through the media, or your teen may know someone who has recently lost someone from COVID-19. Either way, a teen who is acting out is in need of support, and troubled youth treatments can help with secondary traumatic stress in these three important ways.
Learn How to Manage Exposure to the Media
Teenagers may not have developed enough self-control at this point in life to know when to shut the media off. They may find themselves binge-watching the news about COVID-19, which exposes them to increasing levels of secondary trauma. They may also get obsessed with learning more about the virus, or they might be spending excessive amounts of time on social media that talks about the pandemic. In treatment programs for troubled youth, teens are taught how to recognize when too much screen time is taking its toll on their mental health. Your teen can learn how to tell when watching the news is making them anxious along with healthier activities to do when they feel themselves getting upset.
Get Co-Existing Conditions Under Control
Teens with underlying mental health issues are more likely to react intensely to secondary traumatic stress. Your teen may need to have a diagnosis made if this is their first time to display challenging behavior, or they may already know about an underlying condition. During a time of increased stress, your teen may need to adjust their treatment plan for known conditions such as anxiety, and a troubled youth program offers multiple services to help get those symptoms under control.
Find Positive Ways to Cope With Stress
One of the biggest advantages of attending a program for struggling teens is that your teenager is immediately placed in an environment where they feel supported during their time of need. Trained counselors help teens find ways to ease the stress that they feel during the pandemic. They may do this by spending time outside engaged in physical activities that burn off negative energy and release healthy endorphins to boost their mood. Learning a new skill also gives your teen a sense of control that eases the fears that they feel.