According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 in 5 teens will experience some form of depression "before reaching adulthood." As a parent, providing your teen with access to the appropriate mental health services can be your best option for helping them cope with their depression.
In particular, counseling services for teens that provide mental health care in a nurturing and immersive environment can help them receive the care they need without any stigmas they might associate with traditional forms of mental health care.
Here's a quick guide to innovative counseling and treatment options designed for teens battling depression:
Equine (or horse) therapy pairs teens with a horse, riding instructor, and/or trained mental health care professional. Teens learn how to ride, care for, and treat horses. This immersive experience helps teens feel connected and valued, not only by the horse(s) they ride and/or attend to, but also the trainer(s) and other participants in the therapy program. Teens who find relief in equine therapy often become mentors at the camp, which can be a critical component of their recovery.
Many teens battling depression find self-destructive escapes from their mental and emotional anguish. You can provide a healthier escape by enrolling them in an outdoor camp. These recreational-based therapy options range from hiking to rock climbing to fishing to canoeing. Although they come in a variety of formats (overnight, weekend, etc.), these camps pair teens with experience outdoor professionals and/or mental health providers who build a relationship with your teen that extends beyond their depression.
Finding a medium for your teen to communicate their feelings is vital, both to themselves and their mental health care provider. Art can be the perfect vehicle for expressing feelings that they might otherwise be unable or willing to articulate in a traditional therapy environment. From visual mediums like graphic or web designing to painting, sculpting, woodworking, and music, many therapy providers will pair your teen with a trained mental health care professional and/or skilled instructor in the art form of their choice to give them a new outlet for their feelings. These programs also help your teen build skills, relationships with other teens who might suffer similar mental health afflictions, and adult role models who can mentor them through their darkest hours.
Helping a teenager cope with depression can be a parent's worst nightmare and hardest job. Non-traditional therapy options might be the best solution for your family. Look into options through companies like Youth Programs For Troubled Teens.