Teen Anxiety is on the rise and time spent in the forest can help.

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 9.03.31 PM.png

Anxiety is a problem for all of us, but it seems to be on the rise in adolescents and teens. They are experiencing a changing world with their own changing bodies and minds. It’s a tough time of life. 

About 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had at least one major episode of depression in 2015, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Studies show that 15 to 20 percent of adolescents and children suffer from anxiety disorders. However, experts think these statistics are not a true representation because many people don’t seek help for mental health issues.

The numbers are increasing, and experts aren’t sure why. These teens come from the post-9/11 generation, who were raised in a time of economic instability. Social media connects them to people they may not even know, and they can take on the emotions of others easily. 

Teens are also struggling with the pressures of high school, which can be high. They have to deal with ever-increasing school demands, along with the pressure of trying to fit in. Then they have to worry about what happens after high school and how to get ready for that academically and socially. 

Moving can also add an extra layer of stress for your teen. Some adolescents -- particularly introverts -- can experience issues later in life, according to some studies. And it’s worse in those going through puberty because their lives are already fraught with changes. But there are ways to help ease some of the stress your teen might endure.

Don’t keep it secret. Not telling your child about a move will add more stress. He or she already knows something is up, and not telling will cause anxiety. Talking about it early will give him or her enough time to process the information. 

Talk up the positive. Remind your child that the whole family is moving, along with all pets and possessions. Tell him or her about the great things near your new home, such as parks, playgrounds, attractions or new friends. Also, emphasize the things that will stay the same, such as routines. 

Recommend a journal. A journal is a great place for a teen to write about the move and understand his or her thoughts. If your child isn’t into journaling, try a scrapbook.

Ask for input. Don’t make all the decisions yourself. Asking his or her input on locations, homes, schools, etc., will make him or her feel included and that their opinions matter.

Let them say goodbye. Make sure they have time to say goodbye to their friends and teachers. Ask them how they want to say goodbye. A party? A sleepover? A pizza dinner with friends? It will help them get closure.

Get them involved. Ask him or her to pack up their own room or help their younger siblings get organized. Give him or her some responsibility to show that you trust them to play a role. 

Set up his or her bedroom first. This sets up his or her safe haven and allows him or her to get used to the room. Letting him or her choose the look also helps. Pick out paint colors and decor with him or her to give ownership of the new room.

Allow adjustment time. Plan some exploration time so you and your kids can get to know the area. Also, encourage him or her to join clubs and sports teams that he or she enjoyed at the old home. It will ease the transition and help him or her make new friends.

Listen. Remind your child that his or her emotions are normal and accepted, and listen to what they are saying. Hearing your child reminds him that you care how they feel. 

One of our specialties at Sugar Creek Retreat is the anxiety teen's feel in everyday life. Liza is a psychotherapist who believes whole heartedly in the benefits of nature to counteract the effects of anxiety. We offer Shin-rin Yoku walks and miles of hiking trials. Please visit

 http://www.sugarcreekretreat.com/the-owners for more info.