The teen years are full of confusion and hormonal changes and some teens end up having a hard time coping with the changes in their bodies as well as their changing responsibilities and maturity of their peers. When a teen starts to experience long unexplained crying episodes, depression, and anxiety. While most of these things are normal to a point there comes a point when it becomes a problem that needs to be addressed more seriously. That is when it might be time to find your child school alternative program that will help them deal with their issues.
The teen years are full of confusion and hormonal changes and some teens end up having a hard time coping with the changes in their bodies as well as their changing responsibilities and maturity of their peers. Some teens have a hard time adjusting especially when they shift from Junior High in to High School or enter their Sophmore year. High school is a compltely different environent then they are accustomed to and while most kids start to mature others start to fear it and become anxious. This can lead to long unexplained crying episodes, depression, and anxiety. While most of these things are normal to a point there comes a point when it becomes a problem that needs to be addressed more seriously.
If a child has started to isolate themselves from friends, cries on many occasions often without reason or even knowing themselves why they are doing it, having panic attacks on a regular basis, and begging you not to go to school it is time to get your child some help.
There are groups at school that they can go to for help but those are often very impersonal but still a step in the right direction.
There are also of course therapists that can help the child on a one to one basis along with psychiatrists that prescribe medication if necessary.
There is a full fledged option though that can prove very helpful to a distressed, anxious and depressed teen. Those programs are offered at some of the larger hospitals through out the United States. These are called teen anxiety programs or School Refusal programs. When a child enters in to such a program they will actually be going to the program daily for a certain amount of time usually about 6 weeks instead of their regular school.
The program is actually designed like a combination of school and an anxiety program. Often there will also be teens there with problems such as self harm, eating disorders, and those recovering from substance or alcohol abuse. The kids will spend a majority of the day doing certain tasks and exercises meant to help them cope with the world, to realize their own triggers, thier own insecurities, and dealing with others, when it comes to dealing with them. There are also trained education teachers on staff and the kids will have time where they will work on assignments from their regular school so they are still learning and do not get behind in their regular school work.
After the initial period is over if the program counselors, the parents, and the child agree the kids will then transition back in to their own schools, they will go to the program maybe 3 days a week and their regular school 2 days a week to start usually gradually adding more days back to the regular school as they progress.
These programs can be really helpful because each child is getting a significant amount of help from the counselors on a one on one basis and they are also put in to peer groups where they discuss their issues with other kids who have problems like they do and it really helps them to see that they are not alone and that other people have fears and anxiety as well. The parents also have to go to weekly meetings so they have a better idea of what is going on with their child and there is at least one weekly family session where the parents sit down and talk with their child's main counselor and their child. The counselor will also have a bit of one on time with the parent, so that everyone is on the same page.
This is a very intense program and the success level is pretty good.
Most insurance companies will pay for the majority of this treatment but of course the parents will need to pay the deductible and co-pay, there is some assistance for low income families as well.
If your teen is having a hard time coping and thier anxiety and depression seems outside the lines of normal to you, you should contact the school therapist or counselor and ask them if they are aware of any teen anxiety programs or school refusal programs in the area and if so can they recommend you. School refusal does not necessarily mean the child flat out refuses to go to school, but in some cases it can mean that, in others it just means the child is afraid to go to school, cries because they have to go to school or begs you to not make them go.
As I mentioned above the success rate of these school programs is very good, kids find they have a place where they are understood and where there are people like them. They don't feel like outsiders looking in, they find that they are part of a group of people who are like them and this helps them to learn that we all have problems, we all have fears, and we are not alone.