Mental Health in Trans-identified Adolescents

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There is ample evidence to suggest that the current cohort of children and young people presenting with gender dysphoria are different from the almost exclusively pre-pubescent males previously seen. Not only are they now predominantly female, but they often present long after puberty has started. This new demographic also appear to present with significant and varied coexisting mental health issues (Kaltiala-Heino et al. 2015) – from depression and anxiety to self-harm, eating disorders and wider identity issues.

Parents can often find it difficult to find good advice and support for an adolescent who is experiencing significant mental health difficulties, and often issues can be viewed entirely through the lens of their gender identity, even when the other challenges were present long before the development of a trans identity.

Let’s all Talk Mental Health offers “a resource to help parents, carers, family members and schools understand and support teens struggling with mental health issues.” This website is a fantastic place to not only learn more about different mental health conditions themselves but also how parents can help and support their child to access appropriate mental health services, and the importance of parents supporting themselves, too. They acknowledge how lonely parenting a child or adolescent with mental health difficulties can be and their informative website is packed full of helpful videos on a variety of topics. There are weekly live webinars that are free to access with registration and are available on their site for 30 days after first airing, and longer on their YouTube channel.

Let’s all Talk Mental Health offers informative, incisive & practical help from leading experts to support parents and carers of teens struggling with their mental health.

From the website Lets all Talk Mental Health

Here we have provided direct links to a few of the videos that we think are most relevant to Bayswater parents, but we would encourage you to visit their website and take a deeper look at the resources they have to offer. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Firstly, of most interest to parents is probably the episode taking on gender issues with guest speaker ex-GIDS clinician Anastassis Spiliadis, who discusses the ‘gender-exploratory approach’ to understanding gender identity issues in adolescence. It is well worth watching, and some of our parents have forwarded this particular video to schools and clinicians.

Another important episode is ‘An introduction to understanding anxiety in teens’, covering how this may present, the issues teens face, how you can help, and how parents can best cope with an anxious teen.

Every parent is terrified by the idea of their child wishing to self-harm. It creates difficulties in family relationships and can be a really tough situation to deal with, bit from your teens perspective and as a parent. Great overview and advice from Principle Clinical Psychologist Dr Lorna Taylor.

Other topics in this series include the importance of sleep, cognitive behavioural therapy, and why teenagers do what they do.