Talking to a Social Worker Can Help

sadHave you ever thought it might be helpful to talk to a professional about a personal issue? Someone who isn’t your friend or a family member? Maybe you’ve thought about this when you were feeling upset, angry, or stressed out. It might surprise you to know that it’s not uncommon for teens to decide to talk with someone when they’re feeling down.

I’m a social worker and I work with teens and young adults who want to talk with a professional about their feelings and about different situations they may be going through. As a social worker, I’m sometimes called a therapist or counselor, but no matter what you call me, it’s important to know that what you share with me is confidential (unless what you tell me seriously affects your safety or the safety of someone else). Social workers can help people by listening and offering strategies to cope with stress and difficult situations.
Now that you know a bit more about what social workers do, you should also know that it’s also not uncommon for young adults to tell me that they “feel crazy” or believe that “everyone else thinks they are”. I let them know that they’re not alone with these feelings and that they’re not “crazy”, and their feelings are real.

According to a national group of experts, about 1 out of every 10 teens have some kind of depression by age 18 and almost 1 in 10 teens experience significant anxiety. Unfortunately, only about 1 in 5 of those with an anxiety disorder receives treatment. Society has come a very long way since first recognizing mental health issues, but some negative thinking still exists in regards to receiving treatment, or just talking to someone, about these issues.

We know that depression and anxiety are not uncommon in teen populations. In fact, these feelings are most likely to develop when people are growing and changing during adolescence. It’s absolutely normal (not crazy) to feel anxious, angry, or sad at times. If you or a friend is feeling this way, talking to a therapist/counselor is a great place to start. A therapist can help you figure out how to get through tough times and help you learn ways to cope with your feelings.

-Social Worker Anna