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When it comes to mental health in adolescents, what matters more than cognitive behavioral therapy and medication?

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According to Elia Abi-Jaoude, MD, PhD, it’s something practical and basic: two-way communication between the struggling adolescent and their family members.

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The first step is to form a connection that allows the adolescent to feel truly heard, and like what they say and how they are feeling actually matters.

Tune in to discover:

  • Why it’s important to normalize (to a degree) difficult emotions, and harmful when adolescents equate strong emotions with mental illness
  • Why some adolescents turn to physical pain in the midst of emotional pain, and what to do if you see signs of this
  • The connection between the stress levels of parents and the mental health of their children

Abi-Jaoude has spent years working with children and adolescents who are experiencing mental health crises, which qualifies him to make the observation that in recent years, things have gotten markedly worse. This is true not only in Toronto where he works, but across Canada and the U.S.

He explains what to do (and what not to do) if you or someone you love is showing signs of self-harm or suicidal ideation. As hard as it might be…don’t freak out, but do take it seriously. Start by showing true interest in what is going on, and never blame the person who is struggling.

Press play to hear the full conversation and to learn more about Abi-Jaoude’s approach to this growing problem.

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Episode also available on Apple Podcast:

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