BENGALURU: While most children her age spend time partying or preparing for exams, this 16-year-old from the city has taken on teenage depression — an increasing concern for many.
Ananya Chaudhary, a Class 11 student from Inventure Academy, has been conducting workshops for parents on identifying depression in teenagers. She has created a manual to help them deal with the problem. The initiative has got her an invitation to Google’s Bengaluru office for a workshop on December 20.
Chaudhary may appear timid but the student possesses a trove of ambition. “At 13, I saw my friends struggle with anxiety and depression. They wanted to be left alone and would harm themselves too. Their parents didn’t notice what their child was going through. I then decided to do something about it,” she said.
Her parents were initially worried about how she would handle this. Chaudhary, however, didn’t give up. She researched teen depression and spoke to several psychologists and therapists.Her one-and-a-half-hour long workshop discusses symptoms parents can look out for, along with resources on basic things they can do to support their child. For questions outside her area of expertise, she relies on her mentors: Dr Debmita Dutta, MD Parenting Consultant and founder of whatparentsask.com, Snehal, a coordinator from Parivartan counsellor helpline, Shalini Nahata, an educator and teen mentor, and clinical psychologist Dr Megha Hazuria Gore. She made a video of their answers and incorporated the same in the content for the next workshop. Chaudhary has already educated about 1,000 parents. She has also been selected to present at the 1M1B Active Impact Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, under the health and wellness category.
Tips for parents
Call helplines or meet psychologists if need be.
Don’t react immediately or make your child feel guilty.
If your child does not want to talk, give them space.
Check their wrists and inner thighs for cuts.