Author and podcast host shares struggles as he raises awareness about teen mental health
Howards says kids can benefit from open, honest conversations with parents about mental health
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As parents, we want our kids to see the “good” sides of us.
But that’s not always helpful to them.
Author and “Inside Mental Health” podcast host Gabe Howard says he suffered from mental health issues in silence for years, because it wasn’t talked about in his family.
“My dad didn’t share with me that he had anxiety. My dad didn’t share with me that he and my mom went to marriage counseling. My dad didn’t share with me that he saw a therapist and that he had a bad relationship with grandpa,” says Howard.
Once he became an adult, Howard finally got the answer to why he was struggling.
“I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 26 years old. And once I was diagnosed, I realized and my parents realized and my family and friends I could have been diagnosed at 15,” says Howard.
Howard says his parents’ lack of knowledge and education about mental illness is what helped him launch his mission as a mental health advocate.
“It was a really long struggle, and my family just didn’t know. So, they lacked education, in which is the impetus of my career. I just want families like mine to have more information,” says Howard.
Howard serves as host of the award-winning podcast, “Inside Mental Health.”
We asked him what he considered to be the biggest challenge to teenage mental health.
“One of the biggest things honestly is that the adults in their lives think that all the things teenagers do are stupid. We have totally dismissed their emotions, their concerns. And that sends the subtle message to not to bother. Don’t ask the adults in your life how to manage difficult emotion or turmoil,” says Howard.
And that can be destructive for a teenager.
Instead, Howard says remember what it was like to be their age, and show them that you understand.
Most of all, let them know that they can come to you with their problems.
“Set yourself up as as partner. Set yourself up as help. Set yourself up as the knowledgeable one. And you will get further helping your children,” says Howard.
You’ll find more good information about teen mental wellness by clicking here.
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