Mental Health: Preventative Care

If you’ve noticed an uptick in teen depression and anxiety, you’re not alone. Social media, growing expectations, and hormonal changes can all affect a person’s mental state, and teens are more susceptible to many of these triggers. One way to help your teens’ emotional well-being could be to help them feel less alone, perhaps by getting involved in local youth groups. A new survey of 17,000 Jewish teens (the largest of its kind), found that “…teens active in a Jewish youth group (regardless of denomination) tend to flourish socially, emotionally and spiritually as compared with those who are not. They also report feeling more connected to being Jewish, have higher self-esteem and better relationships with family, friends and other adults, and feel empowered to make positive change in their world.”

The design of the Boulder Jewish Teen Initiative is to introduce teens to others who share their connection to Judaism.  Our staff is connected to all the Jewish teen organizations in the area, and we are a resource to help you find an organization that best fits you.  We are constantly honing our programming to meet the changing needs of teens today. 

Last week Shayna and I became certified Mental Health First Responders. We know that depression and anxiety are common diagnoses for teens today, and while they are not always preventable, we work to prepare our participants to deal with these feelings when they arise. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has some coping strategies to help those of us who suffer from these common concerns, many of which we address in our teen programming: exercise, deep breathing, healthy eating, taking time for yourself, seeing humor in a situation, accepting chaos, and setting reasonable expectations for yourself. We strive to equip our participants to face the adult world with confidence and strength of character, which we believe come from self-knowledge and self-acceptance. We introduce yoga and meditation, time management skills, addressing peer pressure, and expectation-setting into our programs to make sure our teens are ready to face the challenges coming their way. For more information on how to get involved with BJTI, please get in touch with jessica.bornstein@boulderjcc.org, or shayna.hamburg@boulderjcc.org.